Arabs protest IDF op
Photo: Hadash Spokesman

Arab leaders: Police threatening us

Arab-Israeli leaders say police using scare tactics against them in attempt to curb anti-Israel riots

Arab-Israeli leaders are accusing police of holding them accountable for riots by Arab youths protesting the Gaza Strip operation. "They call us in for questioning, threaten us, and scare us," Umm al-Fahm Mayor Mustafa Souhil told Ynet Wednesday.


Riots have become a daily occurrence in the wake of the IDF operation in south, and police have already arrested scores of youths suspected of throwing stones and molotov cocktails, and igniting tires.


Police claim they have been holding talks with leaders of the Arab sector in order to curb the riots but Arab leaders claim the talks mostly comprise threats.


"They call in imams, distinguished sheikhs, and even school teachers – all under threats. They are told that they are responsible for all the riots and if they continue security forces will make sure they can no longer serve in their offices," said MK Abas Zkoor (United Arab List-Ta'al,) who claims to have received dozens of calls over the past few days.


Souhil was also summoned as representative of the Islamic Movement's northern branch. "They warned me that in the future I will be held accountable for everything that happens, but I refused to accept this attitude as I can't be responsible for the behavior of each and every resident," he said. "I am willing to make an effort and show restraint."


Similar complaints came from Jaffa, where leaders were summoned to meetings with the Shin Bet. "Every meeting went over the same things: 'There is a limit to democracy. What's happening in Jaffa is an expression of disloyalty towards Israel. You are responsible for inciting, and for every stone thrown'," said chairman of Balad in Jaffa, Sami Abu Shahada.


Police rejected the allegations, says they had conducted useful and cooperative talks with many Arab leaders. Spokesman for the police's Northern District, Deputy Commander Yehuda Maman, said the police had received assistance from many of the leaders approached by officials.


"An example of that is the city of Furadis," he said. "The leaders there called for calm and today the city is back to life as usual. Or take Sakhnin – yesterday commander of the Galilee Sub-district met with the mayor and the two had an excellent meeting. In contrast, there are communities where the leadership has vanished."


פרסום ראשון: 12.31.08, 17:35
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