Sheikh Raed Salah. Assassination attempt?
Photo: Yaron Brener
Evacuating injured to hospital
Photo: Shai Vaknin
Activists on board aid ship
Photo: AP

Israeli Arabs call general strike over Gaza flotilla takeover

(Video) Acting Higher Arab Monitoring Committee head calls incident 'massacre'. Deputy of Islamic Movement official Sheikh Raed Salah says 'this was an assassination attempt'. Meanwhile, military sources say Salah found on one of ships, not seriously injured

VIDEO - Israeli Arabs are protesting against the takeover of the Gaza flotilla, which claimed the lives of at least 10 activists. The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee held an emergency meeting on Monday in which it called for a general strike on Tuesday, and representatives of the various political parties are slated to organize protest processions in Arab towns and cities later Monday.


Meanwhile, Tel Aviv District Police forensics experts examined whether head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, was among those seriously injured during the takeover and hospitalized at Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. The examination revealed that Salah was not in the hospital.


Military sources said Salah was injured, but not seriously, and was found on one of the ships, on its way to Ashdod. The military report comes in contrast with claims made by Salah's deputy, according to which he was rushed to an operating room in Tel Hashomer in serious condition.


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Shortly after the committee meeting concluded, some 50 people protested on the main street in Nazareth against the injuries inflicted on the Gaza aid activists. Some of the protesters carried signs that read, "Israel's leaders are war criminals."


The committee convened for an emergency meeting Monday morning, following the bloody incident at the heart of sea. The committee's acting chairman, Ramez Jaraisi, called for an international probe into what he called "the State of Israel's crimes". Representatives from various political parties attended the meeting, including Knesset members Mohammad Barakeh, Afou Agbaria, Ibrahim Sarsur and Masud Ganaim.


At the start of the meeting Jaraisi said, "We are up against the crimes of pirates. No body in the world would dare think of attacking a humanitarian operation. This is the brutal attack of ships that were transporting aid equipment."

Takeover of Gaza aid ships   (Reuters)


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He also leveled piercing criticism at the Jewish state, saying, "The State of Israel is not satisfied with the criminal siege on the Gaza Strip, and is seeking to enlarge and expand its circle of crime through the massacre we saw with our very eyes."


At the end of his speech, Jaraisi, who is also the mayor of Nazareth, called for a general strike and said the Arabs in Israel expect clear and unambiguous answers from its leaders.


MK Barakeh then took the podium, saying, "We are concerned for all those injured, including Sheikh Raed Salah (head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch), as we do not know what condition he is in. I call for protest processions and demonstrations in all the Arab villages and cities."


Salah's deputy, Kamal Khatib, said at the meeting, "No matter the scope of Sheikh Raed's injuries, this was an assassination attempt. All blood that is spilled there is sacred blood and there is no difference between one person's blood and another's. All measures we decide on today are not final, and they will be followed by other measures. This depends on the developments in the matter."


MK Sarsur said, "We must not remain silent in the face of such a crime… Responsibility lies solely on the State of Israel."


Yoav Zitun contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.31.10, 11:03
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