Bedouin Internal Family Feud Leads to Double Murder

A father and son were shot dead on Saturday night during a brawl in the Negev Bedouin town of Rahat.

Internecine violence has again claimed lives in the Negev Bedouin town of Rahat, where a father and son were shot dead on Saturday night during a brawl.

Bedouin murder

Abdul Malik el-Abeid, 55 and his son Samikh el-Abeid, 35, died on the way to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva.

Another relative was treated at Soroka for light injuries.

Police arrested two men with handguns, one of whom, Abdul Malik's brother, is a Border Police officer. The other is a volunteer with the Rahat police.

A total of 16 suspects, all members of the same extended family, were arrested last night and today on suspicion of involvement in the brawl.

A large police contingent deployed in the section of Rahat known as Neighborhood 20, where the melee took place, to prevent the outbreak of revenge attacks.

In March, two men in their late 20s where shot to death in the town.

Tensions have been high in Rahat due to power struggles within the Abeid clan over its leadership.

Relatives say the murderers of the two men in the current case had premeditated the attack and ambushed them, and that it had to do with an ongoing conflict within the family.

"There has been fighting for four years between two families after a falling out between two women in the clan," a relative said.

"This is the second tragedy in five months," Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu-Sahiban said.

"We've lost four young people because of quarrels in extended families. The background to the murder is an old quarrel among children and women. It shames me as mayor and it does not justify even a drop of blood," the mayor continued.

Abu-Sahiban said the state should take responsibility for the brawls in Rahat and the use of weapons, "and should not place all the responsibility on the Bedouin. The police have to increase their war against legal and illegal weapons. I call on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to forbid Bedouin soldiers to take their weapons home. They should leave them on base. They come home to Rahat with their weapons, and they fire them in brawls and at weddings," he said.

"Every soldier has relatives that take the weapons and the outcome is the worst possible. If the weapons wouldn't come to Rahat, the murders could be prevented," Abu-Sahiban said.