Arab official: Israel’s war on Arab crime a plot to ‘disintegrate Arab society’

Plan for Shin Bet to help combat crime wave draws ire from Higher Arab Monitoring Committee.

By Baruch Yedid and Aryeh Savir/TPS

Israel’s war on crime in the Arab sector is “an attempt to disintegrate Arab society from within,” a senior Arab-Israeli claimed, as violence continued to rage on the streets of Arab cities in Israel.

Commenting on the government’s recent decision to involve the Shin Bet security service and the IDF in the fight against crime in the Arab sector in Israel, Muhammad Barakeh, head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, said Tuesday that “crime also exists in non-conflict-ridden societies such as Israel and the Palestinians are, but here there is crime of monstrous proportions and this shows that there is something else here.”

The Higher Arab Committee is an unofficial, independent political organization comprised of Arab politicians from the national and local levels that tries to coordinate the political activities of the Arab Israeli community.

Between 1980 and 2000, the number of murders in Arab society in Israel was only 81 in total, but between 2000 and 2021, the number hiked to 1,485 murders, and “this is probably not coincidental,” he alleged.

He said that the turning point was the October 2000 riots, during which a series of protests in Arab cities and towns in northern Israel turned violent, escalating into rioting by Arabs throughout Israel, which led to clashes with the Israel Police in which 13 Arab rioters were killed, 12 of them with Israeli citizenship.

“It is not that a normative society like the Arab society has gone crazy and it seems that since the events of October 2,000 and the mobilization of our public for our people and the Palestinian cause, large numbers of weapons have begun to flow from the IDF to criminal organizations, and these [crime gangs] have become immune,” he claimed.

He further asserted that the truth on this matter was revealed when Minister of Public Security Bar-Lev said two months ago that Arab criminal organizations are “collaborators of the Shin Bet.”

“I do not know if it is a political decision but apparently it is a decision of the Israeli intelligence to disintegrate Arab society from within,” he charged.

Barakeh said that the alternative is for the Shin Bet not to be involved in Arab society “for better or worse,” and for the IDF to “plug its holes and not stream weapons out,” and for the police “to make a decision not to see Arabs as an enemy.”

He called on the police to fight crime.

On the streets of the Palestinian Authority, the crime rate is seven times lower, he noted, and the Israeli police are not lagging behind the Palestinian police, “hence there is something else here, the police here are unwilling to act,” he claimed.

Arab-Israeli society is plagued with daily incidents of violence. Over 110 Arabs were killed in criminal violence in 2020, and about 100 in the nine months of 2021.

The police increased its activity against the plague of shootings and weapons offenses in recent years, and in 2020 arrested 5,713 suspects in shootings and other weapons crimes throughout the country, an increase of 22% compared to 2019.

The vast majority of police activity is carried out in the Arab sector, and about 90% of the suspects arrested for shooting and weapons offenses are Arab Israelis.

Approximately 85% of the indictments filed in Israel in 2020 for shooting, illegal possession of weapons, trafficking, and illegal use of weapons have been filed against suspects from the Arab society.

World Israel News staff contributed to this report.