Arabs Announce Three Days of Mourning After Deadly Clashes With Police in South

Rallies held across Israel, Higher Arab Monitoring Committee calls on public to attend funeral of Umm al-Hiran resident, shot during clashes in incident termed a 'terrorist attack' by police.

A protest against the demolitions in Umm al-Hiran in Haifa, January 18, 2016.
Rami Shllush

The Israeli Arab community announced three days of mourning and general strike in regional councils following the state's demolition of homes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee's chairman, Mohammed Barakeh, called on the Arab public to attend the funeral of the Umm al-Hiran resident shot dead during clashes with police, allegedly while trying to run over officers. A police officer was also killed in the incident. 

Rallies were expected on Wednesday across Israel, including in Tel Aviv, Umm al-Fahm, Jaffa, Lod, and Nazareth. In Haifa, some 200 protesters waved Palestinian flags and hoisted banners reading "Umm al-Hiran isn't alone," and "extrajudicial executions = state terrorism." The death of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan was a "declaration of war," Raja Za'atra, the chairman of the Hadash party in Haifa, told Haaretz, referring to the Umm al-Hiran resident killed in the clashes. 

Dozens protested in Tel Aviv, among them lawmakers Dov Henin (Joint List) and Issawi Freij (Meretz). Henin accused Netanyahu of deliberately instigating unrest in the Arab community because of the police investigations against him. "Netanyahu marked the Arab citizens as an easy target," he said.

Representatives of the Joint List will meet Wednesday evening with the EU's ambassador in Israel, Lars Fauborg-Andersen, and with Michael Kohler, in charge of Mideast matter at the European Council, to urge them to intervene. 

The demolition in Umm al-Hiran, coming only a week after demolitions in the village of Kalansua, has caused an outrage among Israel's Arabs, with many drawing comparisons with the state's lenient treatment of the illegal Jewish outpost of Amona.