Israeli Arab leaders go on hunger strike to protest inaction as violence consumes communities

Joint list leader MK Ayman Odeh charged that the “police are not doing anything.”

By World Israel News Staff 

Israeli Arab leaders launched a three-day hunger strike on Sunday, escalating their campaign against rampant violence in Arab localities and what they say is a lack of action by the Israeli government and police to fend off the phenomenon.

The Israeli Arab Monitoring Committee set up a protest tent near the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem with a sign set up which read: “We want to live without violence and crime.”

Monitoring Committee leader Mohammad Barakeh, a former MK, told Haaretz that the protest was continuing despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement last week of the formation of a team to fight crime in the Arab sector alongside a dialogue between police and Israeli Arab leaders.

“The Arab public will not settle for announcements and meetings. It wants an action plan to fight crime, with an emphasis on the crime organizations,” Barakeh said, as cited by the daily on Sunday.

Four people were murdered in the Arab sector over the past week, bringing the total so far in 2019 to 79, the leaders say.

MKs of the Joint List are involved in leading the campaign. Joint list leader MK Ayman Odeh charged that the “police are not doing anything.”

The leaders are calling for a stepped-up crackdown on criminal activity through a greater police presence in Arab communities and stricter enforcement of gun control regulations.

Demonstrations have been held in dozens of locations over recent weeks. In some cases, the protests have included blocking roads.

Haaretz says that it found, through its own investigation, that police have “solved murders of Jews at almost twice the rate as those of Arabs this year.”