Arab Public Officials Kick Off Hunger Strike to Protest Probe

Strike taking place outside PM's office to protest probe that found no cause to prosecute officers for 2000 riots.

Yoav Stern
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Yoav Stern

Leaders of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee began a hunger strike on Tuesday in front of the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, demanding the nullification of the results of a police probe into the events of the October 2000 riots that resulted in the killings of 13 Arabs.

The Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department found no cause to prosecute any of the police officers involved.

The demonstrators set up a tent outside Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, where they intend to sleep for the next three nights.

Israeli Arab MKs and local authority heads are among the demonstrators, excepting those that chose not to strike for health reasons. Head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Shuweiki Hatib, said Tuesday that this is the second step in an ongoing protest, after a Sunday demonstration was held in the same location.

"Our demand is to crush, destroy and burn the shameful report of the investigations unit and to implement the Or Commission recommendations. We demand that everyone who planned and carried out the murders of 2002 be brought to justice," Hatib said.

Interviewed by telephone from a tent pitched outside Sharon's office, Hadash MK Ahmed Tibi told Reuters that the protesters, marking the fifth anniversary of the killings, would drink only water for five days.

"This is an outcry against Israeli racism," Tibi said. "We will continue the hunger strike until Oct. 1 then we will move on to other forms of protest ... our protests will continue until the criminals are brought to justice."

The Or Commission, which headed an initial probe into the incident, found there was sufficient evidence for an indictment in two cases.



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