Border policemen pelted with rocks and had to shoot in the air to clear rioters in a Bedouin village in the Negev.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
An undercover border police unit assisting an arrest operation of criminal figures in a Bedouin village came under attack by locals Sunday and had to ask to be rescued.
“Every day we carry out anti-crime activities in Arab society in the Bedouin diaspora in the south,” Superintendent S. told Channel 12 in an exclusive interview Monday. “We bring all the unit’s capabilities to bear in order to stop those rioters who bring in ever-more weapons and anything that is illegal.”
“Then, when we, the border forces and police, enter these places to protect those normative residents who live in the area – instead of supporting the enforcement activities that benefit these normative residents, the forces encounter violent resistance from those who throw stones and objects that endangered the lives of the fighters.”
In this case, the police said that residents of Tarabin in the Negev started throwing stones at the arresting force, and an undercover unit moved in and caught two of the assailants. In a video clip of their capture, at least a dozen men can be seen surrounding the border policemen, with one trying to pull away one of the suspects and getting arrested as well as a result.
Several men approach the undercover officers threateningly, yelling at them, seemingly not deterred at all by the fact that the policemen have their handguns out and pointed at them. One officer can also be seen calling on his radio for the force to be extracted while being stalked by one of the locals demanding that he lower his weapon, which he does not do. At one point two officers shoot into the air to clear the immediate area and deter their potential attackers.
The superintendent said that his forces “will continue to act in the region with all the abilities at our command to catch the criminals and terrorists and arrest them in order to keep the local residents and the South safe.”
The violent lawlessness in the Arab sector in general and in the south of the country in particular, where Bedouin are mostly to blame for criminal acts ranging from smuggling on the border with Egypt to robbing IDF bases, and assaulting Jews, has gained wide coverage over recent months.
Earlier this month, a bus packed with passengers came under a hail of rocks on its way to Eilat, which the Egged bus company says is a frequent – and unacceptable – occurrence on the southern route.
At the time, Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev said, “We will not allow this to continue. Over the last two months the southern district has begun implementing advanced plans to deal with violence and crime across the Negev, increasing police and Border Guard forces in the sector and many other programs that are already showing initial results. They are leading to significant arrests and the quick apprehension of suspects.”
The IDF has also recently put in place new rules of engagement that will allow troops to fire on smugglers and weapons thieves at army bases, as well as stone-throwers and firebombers, even after they have acted, as long as they are still in the “combat area” and the soldiers feel their lives are in danger.