Ahead of elections: Gunfire, threats in Arab sector

Before campaigns started candidates vowed to keep to non-violent means, but Arab communities see surge of politically motivated violence

Ahead of the October 22 municipal elections, violent incidents including gunfire and threats toward contenders in Arab communities have seen a sharp rise.


Though many contenders for the Arab municipalities signed a pledge committing to running their campaigns democratically without violence and corruption, it appears some have broken their word.


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Police stated on Tuesday that "over the last two years, a comprehensive plan has been developed to significantly improve the personal and communal sense of safety in the non-Jewish sector. The plan focuses on setting up enforcement and policing units aimed to improve police services given to the Arab public.


Vandalized campaign posters in Tira (Photo: Fadi Mansour)


"So far, units have been established in Nazareth, Ayarot, Taybeh and Karmiel. In the near future more will be set up in Iron, Rosh Haayin, Shfaram, Akko, Dimona, Lod, Rahat, Jaffa and Jerusalem."


Despite these actions, safety levels for Arabs and local politicians in the sector are quite low, as the following list details: 


Kafr Qassem: On Saturday, unknown persons fired shots into the headquarters of Sami Ayesa, who runs for mayor. Two weeks ago, 20 bullets were fired at the house and cars owned by a resident from the Badir clan, considered a supporter of one of the candidates. Some damage was caused to property, and the man's children suffered form anxiety.


On Sunday, 16 suspects were arrested in Kafr Qassem for alleged involvement in gunfire and arms-trading. Police are investigating whether they're involved in election-related shootings. The Badir family said in response: "We have no enemies. The shooting was due to the elections, but it will not deter us."


Kafr Kara: About a month ago unknown persons fired toward Council Head Mazia Masarwa, who runs for reelection. Three suspects were arrested early this week.


Kafr Rama: Three weeks ago a grenade was lobbed at the house of Patan Ratas, a Hadash party activist who announced his support for the party's candidate for council head, Nikola Jubran. Both of them received threats by mail. Ratas was warned: "We're going to shoot you between the eyes together with all your family... you sons of whores. Start counting your days." Jubran's letter read: "Count your days and start saying your goodbyes... you're going to die... your brothers, cousins, and all your family as well."


Kafr Raina: Unknown persons fired shots at the house of Vector Bransi, who runs for council head. After the incident all the contenders condemned the shooting and urged their supporters to keep it clean.


Tira: On September shots were fired toward a private vehicle adorned with campaign posters.



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פרסום ראשון: 10.08.13, 23:59
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