Arab Leaders to Terror Groups: Stop Recruiting Israeli Arabs

The Arab National Council has called on all Palestinian terror organizations to stop recruiting Israeli Arabs for operations against Israeli targets.

The group, which issued its call Tuesday, also condemned the alleged involvement of seven members of the Bakri clan in the August 4 bombing of a bus at the Meron Junction which killed nine people and wounded dozens.

The council called on Israeli Arabs not to be tempted by propositions from Palestinian activists.

One day after news of the arrests was released for publication, residents of Be'ana, the Upper Galilee village where the suspects live, were upset about the incident. However, they were angry with the Hebrew media, which, according to the suspects' attorney, Bakri Bakri, found the seven guilty even before being charged. The lawyer said his clients are considering filing a libel suit against some of the Hebrew language media.

The alleged involvement of the Bakri clan members and the negative image Be'ana received in media coverage have led to hostility between Israeli Arabs and Palestinian residents of the territories.

"They should leave us alone and go and fight their own battle for independence," said Ali Hassan Badran, a Be'ana resident. "We don't want independence. We were and will remain residents in the State of Israel."

Some 6,000 people, 20 percent of whom are Christians, live in Be'ana. The village is run by a council appointed by the Interior Ministry after the elected council ran up a large deficit. Unemployment in the village is about 13 percent - almost three percent above the national average. A few of the residents have served in the IDF or with the security forces.

The Bakri family believes that the police and the Shin Bet security services framed the seven suspects, while actor Mohammed Bakri, a member of the clan, said he does not believe the charges are true.

However, some Be'ana residents called Tuesday for the family to be expelled from the village. "Whoever commits such an act should go and live in the West Bank with the Palestinian Authority," said Haled Badran. "They have no place here."