Two Retamim residents, Tamar Green and M., said that stones were hurled at their cars Sunday afternoon in two different instances. According to M., masked men drove around him and pelted his car with stones. "The masked men surrounded me and tried to attack me, until I fled to an area with police presence. Only then they let me go," he said.
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"The residents of Retamim are paying the price for the conduct of the State and the police when it comes to Bir Hadaj," Chairman of the Ramat Negev Regional Council Shmulik Rifman said, adding that when police try to tear down the Bedouins' illegal structures, the Bedouins take their vengeance on the residents of Retamim.
Windshield pays price (Photo: Yanon Green)
Rifman referred to the Bedouins' offenses as "price tags," "which hurt the residents of Retamim. I will no longer sit quietly. Police are doing a lot, but it's not enough.
"Throwing a rock at a woman on her way back from work is terror as far as I'm concerned, despite the fact the she happened to survive. With all due respect to the police and their efforts, they fail to bring about peace and quiet," he asserted.
Retamim chairman Itzik Tzur said that "The residents of Retamim are good people who came to practice Zionism in the Negev.
"Now, we find ourselves dealing with outlaws. A small group of people who disrupt our lives. Sometimes they leave burning tires on the road, sometimes they hurl stones. We view these incidents as attempted murder."
Head of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages of the Negev, Ibrahim al-Vakili, insisted that "We completely disapprove of stone throwing, regardless of whether its directed at Jews or Bedouins," adding that he would like Bedouins and Jews in the region to maintain amicable ties.
"Police are doing their job, but they can't be in the roads 24 hours a day," Vakili added. "They're supposed to maintain order at all times."
Police reported that the circumstances of Sunday's incidents were under investigation, adding in a statement that "the police condemn all disruptive incidents and will exercise a zero tolerance policy toward vandals. A team of officers were called to the scene and restored the peace."
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