Arab residents of Israel yesterday blocked a major highway near Jerusalem in protest against Israeli police’s inaction in the fight against violence in Arab communities, media reports said.
A convoy of cars started from the village of Ara in the northern city of Haifa and moved towards the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem. Arabs from other towns and villages took part in the protest.
Since the start of 2020, Yedioth Ahronoth said, 108 Arabs have been killed, up from 75 in 2018 and 89 in 2019. Arabs say Israeli police have taken no real action to fight violence and crime in their community.
On Saturday, two Palestinian brothers aged 33 and 41 and their 25-year-old nephew were shot dead in the Arab town of Jatt, Wafa news agency reported.
“We cannot stay idle as long as blood continues to be shed in our communities,” the Times of Israel reported Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen saying.
The convoy of the Arab cars blocked traffic for about an hour on Route 6, close to the Baka-Jatt Junction, before proceeding toward Jerusalem.
“Let us raise our voice for life, against crime, gang violence, arms dealers and against the complicity of the Israeli police,” Wafa reported Mohammad Baraka, head of the Arab Follow-up Committee, saying on Facebook.
For his part, Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh tweeted: “We cannot fight organised crime with empty promises from [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu — instead, we will engage in a civil struggle on every road in the land. We will force the government to put an end to the criminal neglect of Arab society.”
He added: “We demand to live in a society without weapons.”
According to the Times of Israel, Odeh has put forward a bill in the Knesset that would drastically increase the sentencing requirements for illegal arms possession.