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Arab Israelis reject Shin Bet working with police to fight crime

A general overview of a meeting held in Knesset, Israel on October 3, 2019 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]
A general overview of a meeting held in the Israeli Knesset on 3 October 2019 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images]

Representatives of Palestinian citizens of Israel, including mayors, members of the Knesset and rights groups have rejected the participation of the Shin Bet intelligence agency in police operations to combat crimes in the Arab communities, news reports said yesterday.

This comes after reports that Shin Bet and the Israeli army would be allocated a limited role in combating the rising crime rates among the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's office announced on Sunday that they will join efforts to deal with illegal weapons in the Arab community.

This was, however, denied by the Minister of Internal Security, Omer Bar-Lev, who said the army would only help "in the context of the theft of weapons from its bases and their prevention."

Quds Net News reported that the Arab community rejecting Shin Bet's involvement due to its torture of thousands of Palestinians.

READ: Abbas meets Israel MKs, cabinet ministers in Ramallah

Arabs make up 20 per cent of the population in Israel, they believe Israeli occupation authorities are purposely ignoring rising crime rates in their community.

Since the start of 2021, about 100 Arabs have been killed, with protests being held to urge the government to act.

The committee of Arab mayors in Israel, according to Haaretz, called the Shin Bet and military participation "a bad decision, which results from viewing the Arab population as a security threat rather than Israeli citizens with equal rights who are in a situation of distress."

In a statement, the Legal Center for the Right of Arab Minority in Israel (Adalah) said: "The decision, in principle, to allow covert activity of unknown nature and gravity poses a further danger to the basic rights of Palestinian citizens, who are already systematically targeted and oppressed by the police today."

"The establishment of an enforcement system intended only for one ethnic and national group is a racist decision that produces two systems of law."

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