Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh
Photo: Knesset website
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Balad's MK Jamal Zahalka
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Islamic Movement's Sheikh Kamal Hatib
Photo: Hagai Aharon

Olmert to meet families of Arabs killed in October 2000 riots

Prime minister scheduled to sit down with Higher Arab Monitoring Committee to discuss repercussions of clashes with police. Hadash Chairman MK Barakeh: Olmert trying to clear his conscience

A delegation from the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee including relatives of the 13 Israeli-Arabs killed in the October 2000 riots are scheduled to meet on Sunday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the first such summit since the incidents.


The representatives are also expected to breach the topic of the current Jewish-Arab riots in Akko, which on Saturday resumed for the fourth consecutive night since Yom Kippur.


Joining the bereaved relatives will be Arab MKs and

Sheikh Kamal Hatib, deputy head of the Islamic Movement's northern faction. The meeting will be held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.


The group is expected to present Olmert with a petition signed by 250,000 people in protest of Attorney General Menachem Mazuz’s decision to drop the charges against the police officers involved in the riots.


At the time family members met briefly with then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak.


However, since then, despite the demonstrations they held and despite their claim that the recommendations of the Or Commission have not been implemented, the families have not been granted an audience with a sitting prime minister. Now, they are meeting with Olmert.


“We understand that he is trying to clear his conscience as much as possible before leaving office. Any statement he makes is very important,” said Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh, who put forward the petition and whose party managed to enlist 220,000 of the quarter million signatories.


The familial representatives have said they will demand of Olmert to reopen the investigation; hoping that by doing so their sons' honor may be restored.


“We expect to hear him speak of issues concerning discrimination and racism through the years, subjects which are particularly relevant in light of the Akko riots. We know that he won't be prime minister in two months, but what he says will constitute a base for how future governments treat this,” said Barakeh.


MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad), who will also be taking part in the meeting, said that he is convinced that the situation in Akko will be discussed. “We place the responsibility for this in full on the police and the government, who failed to nip this in the bud.


“It is important that he (Olmert) hears that the Arab public is frightened, and is seeking protection.” The petition will be submitted to Israeli President Shimon Peres as well.


The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee’s secretary, Abed Anbatawi, said that “there is great significance in such a meeting since we are meeting the prime minister, the person who represents the establishment in Israel and through him the message will be sent across the entire political spectrum and Israeli public opinion.


“However, the real test of the meeting is not its mere existence but rather the measures that will be taken after,” said Anbatawi.


פרסום ראשון: 10.11.08, 23:10
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