Arabs protest police inaction as Arab on Arab violence climbs

In Ramle, Hundreds of Arabs demonstrate against Arab on Arab violence in Arab Israeli neighborhoods (Joint List)

Arab on Arab violence has rocked Israel with a shocking number of murders reported this year within Israeli Arab communities — already as many as all of last year.

So far this year, 75 Arab Israelis have been killed due to violence within their own communities. Arab families traditionally settle their own feuds and generally shun police involvement. Now, however, they are demanding increased police enforcement.

Just this week a 35-year-old father was shot in the stomach while sitting in his car. Last month two people were shot dead at a wedding. And after the head of the Islamic Movement in Ramle gave a sermon calling for action and protests against organized crime, his car was hit by seven bullets in a murder attempt.

As the violence surges, hundreds of people demonstrated against what they call police inaction when it comes to crime in the Arab sector.

“If the weapons were being aimed at Jews, the police would not wait for criminals to return the weapon voluntarily,” said Knesset Member Aida Touma-Sliman. Protestors called for greater cooperation between various police units to go after mob leaders in the Arab community.

Knesset Member Ayman Odeh told demonstrators that protests “will continue until quiet is returned to the streets and the crime organizations are defeated. If we do not continue to count arrests and demonstrations, we will continue to count fatalities and funerals.”

The violence in Arab communities includes family feuds, mafia disputes, domestic violence and “honor killings.”

Last week Arab politicians led a convoy to Jerusalem and met with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and interim Police Commissioner Motti Cohen to demand increased enforcement. Erdan promised to supply 600 officers to handle violent crime and focus more resources on investigating organized crime.

In the meantime, more mass protests are planned for Oct. 21 and 27 in both Nazareth and Ramle.

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