Police shoot and kill a Bedouin man during an arrest raid, later killing another man at his funeral. A general strike is called and protests take place across Israel.
Text by Yael Marom and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Photos and reporting by Activestills.org
Protests took place across Israel on Tuesday following the police shooting death of Bedouin citizen of Israel Sami Ja’ar last week and the death of another man, Sami Ziadna, during clashes that took place at his funeral in the desert city of Rahat.
The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee declared a general strike on Tuesday and protests were held against police violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel, Arab-Israelis.
Roughly 1,000 people marched between the homes of the two men who were killed in Rahat Tuesday afternoon, after which they gathered at mourning tents set up by their families.
Following the protest, clashes broke out between demonstrators and police. One protester was struck by a police vehicle chasing stone-throwers and was evacuated to a hospital where he was arrested.
Also Tuesday, a court extended the remand of seven protesters who were arrested at Ja’ar’s funeral on Sunday.
Ja’ar, a Bedouin resident of Rahat, was shot to death during a police raid last Wednesday night. Police are investigating the shooting. Local Bedouin officials and Israeli police agreed that officers would not be present during his funeral on Sunday. When a police car showed up, mourners began throwing stones and clashes began, during which one protester died.
Following the clashes and arrests at the funeral, MK Haneen Zoabi said she was “shocked from the accounts I heard this morning about police abusing handcuffed protesters.”
“This protest is of a population that is struggling for its rights and it won’t give up,” she continued, “it’s the abuse of an entire population.”
Other protests on Tuesday took place in Arava, Umm al-Fahm and Kafr Kara. Palestinian students at Tel Aviv University, the University of Haifa, the Hebrew University and Ben-Gurion University all held protests over the past 24 hours against police brutality toward Arab citizens.
The two killings come on the heels of another high-profile police shooting of a Palestinian citizen of Israel, in Kafr Kanna, a case that involved a police raid gone wrong.
In early November, following a police arrest raid in Kafr Kanna, 22-year-old Kheir Hamdan attacked the outside of a police van with an object officers said was a knife. When they exited the vehicle Hamdan fled, and officers shot him in the back.
That killing sparked days of large protests across the country. It came during a wave of vehicular and stabbing terrorist attacks, after which Israeli politicians gave what some interpreted as a green light for police to use deadly force.
Rights groups say that Israeli police have killed 50 Arab citizens in the past 15 years compared to fewer than a handful of Jewish Israelis. According to civil rights group Adalah, 93 percent of complaints filed against police in recent years have been closed.