Three shot in latest bout of violence to plague Israeli-Arab sector

Three men shot, one dies, in the town of Baqa al-Gharbiya in the latest incident of fatal violence in Israel’s Arab sector.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israeli Arab leaders slammed government inaction after three people were shot Tuesday in the Israeli Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye. One of the men died of his injuries.

The shooting in the town of 30,000 people roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Tel Aviv is the latest in a string of violent crimes that continues to plague Israel’s Arab communities.

The three victims were evacuated to a hospital, one lightly wounded, one in serious condition and a third who was pronounced dead shortly after arriving unconscious, the Magen David Adom ambulance service reported.

“The rising crime in Arab society is an emergency: 44 have been murdered since the beginning of the year,” tweeted Knesset member Yousef Jabareen. “The Arab street feels like a civil war is happening in front of its eyes, but the racist government is not moving from its seat.”

However, experts note that Israel’s Arab population has to shoulder a major portion of the responsibility for what is an ongoing problem.

“Arab politicians blame the Israeli establishment for the rampaging violence in Israeli Arab society, but ignore the underlying problems in their own sociopolitical culture that foster that violence,” said Dr. Edy Cohen, a specialist in inter-Arab relations and Institute for National Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv.

Cohen pointed out the hostility among Arab citizens toward the establishment with many considering the police their enemy and the lack of cooperation encourages more violence and crime.

“Israeli Arabs must understand that if they want peace and security within their communities, they must allow the police to do their job,” said Cohen. “Arab politicians and government officials must educate their constituents and encourage them to cooperate with the police, and they must stop promoting division and inciting against the establishment and the state more widely.”

Following the June 10 murder of 28-year-old Khalil Abd al-Fateh in Haifa, Knesset member Ayman Odeh called the death “a victim of criminal organizations and also of police indifference to the murder of Arab civilians. Another unnecessary death of a young Arab. Another shattered family.”

Odeh, chairman of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties in Israel’s parliament, repeated ongoing complaints by Arab community leaders that the government and Israel’s national police force are continuing to ignore violence in the Arab sector that is getting worse because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The economic crisis is just beginning. Debt and unemployment will push countless people into the black market and into the hands of criminal organizations,” Odeh tweeted. “A comprehensive government decision to fight crime is ever more critical.”