Strikes, clashes resume between Israeli police, Bedouins

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-1-21 10:59:36

Bedouin protesters and Israeli police clashed again in the southern Israeli town of Rahat on Tuesday night, after a day-long strike by Arabs across Israel in protest of the death of two Bedouins that involved Israeli police.

An Israeli police spokesperson said that dozens of youths hurled stones and burned tires in front of the town's police station and that three suspects were arrested.

Israeli Arabs went on a day-long strike on Tuesday in cities and villages ranging from the northern Galilee region to the southern Negev desert. They protested against what they say was an excessive and indiscriminate use of force by the police against their communities.

Earlier on Thursday, Sami al-Jaar, a 20-year-old Bedouin Arab from Rahat, was shot and killed by police during clashes.

According to the police, al-Jaar was participating in "riots" after policemen came to make a drug-related arrest in the town, but the police did not say why al-Jaar, who was unarmed, was shot. A police spokesperson said that an investigation on al-Jaar's death is opened.

On Sunday evening, clashes broke out at al-Jaar's funeral between police forces and the mourners, in which Sami Zayadna, a 45-year-old Bedouin, died and more than a dozen others were wounded, one of whom in serious conditions.

The police spokesperson said that the policemen were pelted by stones while trying to break the gathering.

While the Bedouins said Zayadna died from tear-gas inhalation and hailed him as "martyr", Israel Radio said he possibly died of a heart attack. Results of an autopsy are expected in the next few days.

Adalah, a Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said in a statement on Monday that the police used excessive force while dealing with Arab protesters and citizens.

About 192,000 Bedouins, indigenous Arabs dwelling in the southern Israeli Negev Desert, are now living in Israel, half of whom in more than 40 unrecognized villages. The Israeli authorities do not provide services to these villages, including electricity, running water, health services or education.

According to Israel's National Insurance Institute, these Bedouin villages are the poorest in Israel, overpopulated and without infrastructure.

Posted in: Mid-East

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