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City of Umm Al-Fahm to stage a general strike tomorrow in protest of rising violence

Thousands protest against the increase in crime rates in in Um Al Fahem on 5 March 2021 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Thousands protest against the increase in crime rates in Um Al Fahem on 5 March 2021 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

The city of Umm Al-Fahm has announced a general strike for tomorrow, in protest of the rising violence and murders in the city based to the north of Israel, which are failing to stop.

Businesses, institutions and schools will all be closed.

During an emergency session, the Arab municipality discussed multiple ways to address the murders that took place in the city and claimed the lives of three young Arabs, including 25-year-old Khalil Ja'u.

Khalil Ja'u, from Umm Al-Fahm, was shot and killed early Tuesday morning. He is the sixth member of his family to be murdered in the past two and a half years.

Moreover, Salim Abd Al-Karim Hasarma, 44, ​​from the Arab town of Bi'ina was killed a day before Khalil.

In addition to the strike, local Arab municipal authorities called for a sit-in in front of the Israeli military station on Saturday.

At least 100 Arabs have been the victims of gun violence since the start of 2021.

READ: Israeli settlers' arson attack on farms in occupied West Bank

Gun crime has been steadily rising since 2017 when 1,733 Palestinians were shot, compared to only 267 Jewish Israeli victims. By 2020, these figures had significantly climbed to 2,983 Palestinians and 397 Jews.

Victims' families and activists have begun to speak out and direct their frustration at the Israeli police. They claim that the killing of Palestinians in Arab cities is a very low priority and, if the police took the deaths of Palestinians as seriously as prison breaks, they could very easily arrest those responsible for the killings.

In March, former member of the Israeli Knesset, Yousef Jabareen, a resident of Umm Al-Fahm, said "Arabs are crying out for a gun-free society," denouncing Israel's double standards when it comes to dealing with issues that affect Palestinians.

"The police have got used to treating Arabs as enemies rather than citizens," said Jabareen, writing in the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, complaining about the general indifference in Israel in tackling gun-related crimes in Palestinian Arab communities.

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