10 Years Later, October 2000 Unrest Remains 'Black Stain'

About 6,000 people marched in a procession Friday from the northern town of Kafr Kana to commemorate the October 2000 disturbances in which 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian were killed by police.

Israeli Arab protest - Yaron Kaminsky
Yaron Kaminsky

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al ) urged Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to reopen the case and indict the officers in question. "Otherwise, the state will be sending a message that it disregards the lives of its Arab-Israeli citizens and belittles their value because they are Arabs," he said.

Over the past decade, Tibi said, racism in Israel has reached unprecedented levels. "These past 10 years have been filled with anger and pain for the victims' families, and for the general Arab public," he said. "They represent a black stain on the history of the State of Israel."

The procession included the families of the victims, members of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, Knesset members and Jewish peace activists. Earlier Friday, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee declared a general strike in commemoration of the 13 victims.

Demonstrators gathered last week in small groups in Nazareth and Haifa and at 12 major intersections across Israel, in solidarity with Palestinians marking the outbreak of the second intifada.

Ramiz Jaraisy, mayor of Nazareth and the acting head of the Higher Monitoring Committee, described the day as one in which "the Arab population is still fighting the government of Israel for justice."

Hundreds mark anniversary of Border Policeman's death

Also Friday, hundreds took part in a ceremony to mark the 10-year anniversary of the death of Madhat Yusuf, the Border Police officer wounded by gunfire who bled to death in Joseph's Tomb in Nablus after his evacuation was delayed for over five hours.

The event was held in Beit Jann, the Druze village in the Upper Galilee where Yusuf was raised. Among the participants were Aviva Shalit, the mother of Gilad Shalit, and Shimshon Liebman, the activist leading the campaign to secure the captive soldier's release.

Organizers of the event, entitled "A decade of pain and evading responsibility," drew parallels between what they described as the state's abandonment of both Yusuf and Shalit.

Mahdi Yusuf, the late officer's brother, read out a letter that said, "Even if the country's leaders close their eyes, the people won't let them do it. A state that purports to be an unrivaled military power can do whatever is necessary to save your life and secure your release. We just need leadership, a leadership of values," he said.

Liebman said that "Madhat's death has become a stain on the values record of the IDF and on Israeli society itself." The IDF principle of not abandoning soldiers in the field, he said, "is what separates us from our neighbors."