Israeli Arabs Plan More Protests Against Police's Failure to Stem Violence in the Community

After weekend of demonstrations that drew thousands, Higher Arab Monitoring Committee announces series of protests that will take place throughout October

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Thousands protested Israel's failure to address violence in the Arab community, Nazareth, October 3, 2019.
Thousands protested Israel's failure to address violence in the Arab community, Nazareth, October 3, 2019.Credit: Gil Eliahu

Israeli Arabs are expected to continue this week's countrywide protests against the Israel Police's failure to properly address violence in the Israeli Arab community.

A series of steps to continue the demonstrations were decided upon on Saturday, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee announced on Saturday. 

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Since the beginning of 2019, more than 70 Israeli Arabs have been murdered. Over the weekend, thousands took to the streets to protest Israeli law enforcement's poor handling of the violence.

In a weekend meeting, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee decided that on Thursday, convoys of cars will set out from Israel's north and south and drive to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem as a form of protest. 

One of the convoys will set out from Majdal Krum in the Galilee, where three people – among them two brothers – were killed in an altercation on Tuesday. According to the plan, the convoy will drive along Route 6 and will intentionally cause traffic jams.

In addition, the committee decided to organize a large demonstration across from the northern district police headquarters in Nazareth on October 15. Another protest is slated to take place the following week across from the central district police headquarters in Ramle. The committee also decided to erect a protest tent across from the government offices in Jerusalem on October 27.

Saturday morning, dozens of protesters blocked the intersection at Beit Rimon near the town of Kafr Kanna as part of the ongoing demonstrations.

On Friday, thousands took part in protests that were held in numerous Israeli Arab cities across the country. Demonstrators blocked Route 65 near Umm al-Fahm, Route 70 near Tamra, and Route 85 near Majdal Krum.

In a statement published at the end of their meeting Saturday, the committee said that the protests express "our intense desire in the Arab community to take responsibility for the basic desire for life and personal safety, to immunize ourselves against the plague of violence, crime and the anarchy of weapons. It is part of our struggle for our rights in our homeland and toward equal civil rights."

According to the committee, law enforcement agencies, primarily the police, look the other way when it comes to illegal weapons sales and crime in the Arab community. "This is a racist nation whose aim is to disassemble the community from within and to attack the social fabric of the Arab public," they said. "The right to personal safety," the committee clarified, "is a basic right that is nonnegotiable."

They added that deploying more border police in Arab communities is not a solution, and that they see it as "a type of attempt to return martial law. We demand a plan that includes combatting crime in coordination with elected officials."