With organized crime and lethal violence continuing to threaten Arab-Israeli communities, residents of the Palestinian city of Umm al-Fahm have held weekly protests against government and police inaction.
Last Friday, police mobilized swiftly to violently quell the protests on the pretext that demonstrators were blocking the main highway through Wadi Ara. NIF grantee, Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civil Equality wrote, “Dozens of demonstrators were injured by brutal violence including Umm al-Fahm Mayor, Dr. Samir Mahamed, and MK Yousef Jabereen of the Joint Arab List.”
Sikkuy added, “This is the seventh week that the demonstrations against violence have taken place. But this time, according to reports, rubber bullets were fired at the protestors and stun grenades thrown at them. Even the stewards organizing the demonstrators — as well as women and the elderly — were cruelly attacked by police. We cannot imagine the police behaving like this in Tel Aviv or at the Balfour Protests in Jerusalem.
“The police treat the demonstrators, not as if they are citizens, but as the enemy, even though it is their job to protect them.”
Everyone deserves to live without fear of violence—both violence from within their community and from the police. The New Israel Fund will continue to support organizations like Sikkuy who seek to bring an end to the longstanding discrimination and inequality between Jewish and Arab/Palestinian citizens of Israel.