A Palestinian journalist from the Arab Israeli city of Umm Al-Fahm was shot and killed in his car yesterday evening. According to eyewitnesses, two masked men approached the car in which Nadal Ijbaria was sitting and shot him in the head at close range before fleeing the scene.
Ijbaria was pronounced dead at the Haemek Hospital in Afula after paramedics tried to resuscitate him. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli authorities are opening an investigation into the incident, gathering evidence at the scene and searching for suspects.The 44-year-old journalist wrote for Sawt Al-Haq wa Al-Huriyeh and founded the Baladna (“Our country”) website, which reports on crime in Umm Al-Fahm. The news site mourned Ijbaria on its Facebook page. “The voice of truth will not die,” it said, adding that the victim was on his way home from a mosque when he was killed.
Speaking to the New Arab, the journalist’s family said that they hold the Israeli authorities responsible for the killing, because he had filed an official complaint about receiving death threats. The threats were apparently due to debts owed by a relative of the deceased, and the police were aware of them but did not arrest the suspects or prevent the crime.
“Unfortunately, the police are unexpectedly inactive,” said Ijbaria’s father, Mohammed. “They always accuse the victim’s families of not cooperating in the investigation to evade responsibility, but we gave them all the evidence and all the threats that Nidal and the family were exposed to. Despite the increase of crime in Arab society, there is no Israeli action to stop it. This crime will not be the last because we kept silent about all these calamities.”
Palestinian citizens of Israel – those who remained during the Nakba and their descendants – make up 20 per cent of the country’s population. Crimes, mainly murder, have increased sharply within the Arab Israeli communities, with successive Israeli governments doing little to address the problem.
Umm Al-Fahm Municipality condemned the killing. It called on the Israeli authorities to take the necessary steps to arrest and hold the criminals accountable.