Israeli Arabs march in solidarity with Hamas ‘March of Return’

For the third night in a row, hundreds of Arab demonstrators in Haifa gathered in solidarity with the Hamas-led “March of Return.”

By: World Israel News Staff

As hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the northern city of Haifa for the third night in a row in solidarity with the Hamas-led Gaza “protesters,” Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has called for a criminal investigation into Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh, head of the Arab Joint List, for interfering with a police officer carrying out his duties, insulting a public official, violating a legal order and making threats, Times of Israel reported.

The pro-Hamas demonstrators gathered Sunday evening in several locations in Haifa, a mixed Arab-Jewish city, waving Palestinian flags and demanding the release of 21 protesters who were arrested Friday night during the Gaza solidarity rally that coincided with the first day of Ramadan.

Police said participants at one of the demonstrations shouted slogans against the US and Israel and praised the “martyrs” killed in the violent Hamas-led protests on the Gaza border over the past several weeks, the Times reported.

“All the shame on the collaborators of the occupation, Israel is a terror state,” police said the protesters chanted, according to the Times.

In a counter-protest, several dozen pro-Israel demonstrators shouted “Return Haifa to Israel” and sang Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem.

There was a large police presence Sunday due to the reported violence during the Friday night protests, which police say included stone-throwing at officers and property damage.

Jafar Farah, head of an Arab rights group, suffered a broken knee following his arrest on Friday.

Police maintain that all the arrests were “carried out lawfully and in accordance with procedures.” When questioned by the Times, they provided no explanation for the alleged fracture.

“Footage of his arrest the day prior shows Farah being led away in handcuffs and walking on his own,” the Times added.

“The Justice Ministry’s police internal investigations department has opened a preliminary investigation into Farah’s injury. Investigators from the department, which is independent of the police, will ask police for relevant material and then decide whether to open a formal investigation into the incident,” the Times said.

Odeh joined the protests Sunday night. He accused police of “brutality” and claimed that the government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “wants to silence all voices of protest and opposition.”

“Every day that Ayman Odeh and his associates are free to walk around cursing at police officers is a failure of law enforcement authorities,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman posted on Twitter, the Times reported. “The place for these terrorists is not in the Knesset, it’s in prison. It’s time they pay a price for their actions.”