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Police not doing enough to combat surge in violent crime – Israeli Arabs

CM 26/09/2021

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The Israel Police is not doing enough to combat violent crime in the Arab sector, Arab-Israelis said on Sunday after four more people were killed in the past 48 hours, bringing the death toll since the beginning of the year to 96.
Some Arab citizens, meanwhile, said they are not opposed to the idea of involving the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in police efforts to combat the upsurge of crime.
However, they expressed doubt that the Shin Bet would be able to score achievements unless Arab families also assume responsibility for the actions of their sons.

Since the beginning of this month, 15 Arabs have been killed in separate incidents in what is being described as the “Black September” of the Arab community. More than 1,600 Arabs have been killed in violent crime incidents since 2000, but the past few years have witnessed an alarming rise in the number of murder cases.
Prominent Arab activists attributed the increase in murders to the large number of illegal weapons that have made their way to the hands of individuals and crime gangs. According to various estimates, there are tens of thousands of rifles, pistols and hand grenades in the Arab cities, towns and villages across the country.
Although the police have in recent weeks confiscated dozens of illegal rifles and pistols, and arrested scores of suspected criminals, the number of solved murders in the Arab sector remains very low, mainly due to the lack of cooperation on the part of Arab citizens.
“The police say that they are making a big effort to fight against the criminals, but it is evident that they are not doing enough,” Tareq Abdel Jawad, a resident of Kalansuwa, told The Jerusalem Post. “This morning we heard that even the police are admitting that they have lost control over the situation.”
In response to claims that Arab citizens are reluctant to help the authorities in combating violent crime, some blamed fear of retaliation and a sense of insecurity.

 The scene of the shooting of a 30-year-old man in the Negev on September 21 2021. (credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) The scene of the shooting of a 30-year-old man in the Negev on September 21 2021. (credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

“Several people who were accused of helping the police have also fallen victim,” said Abdel Hakim Masarweh of Kafr Kara. “Some have been killed, while others were forced to go into hiding, together with their families. The feeling here is that the authorities will not protect you if you get into trouble. Besides, the police can’t expect ordinary citizens to do the job of the security services.”
Some Arab citizens told the Post that they are even afraid to dial 100 to report a crime in their neighborhood. Others accused the Arab Knesset members of failing to help curb the wave of violent crime.
“The people have lost confidence in the police because they see that they are not serious about fighting crime among Arabs,” said Amal Mahajneh of Umm el-Fahm. “Many people have stopped calling the police when they hear shots being fired near their home. We are living in a jungle where anyone carrying a gun can do anything he wants. Where are the Arab leaders in the Knesset? What are they doing to help their people? Nothing.”
Last week, six-year-old Ayham Abdel Hadi was shot and seriously injured in the Ain al-Taleh neighborhood of Umm el-Fahm. The shooting occurred as the boy and his family were driving back home from a wedding.
Local residents said that Abdel Hadi was apparently hit by a stray bullet. His father, Ibrahim, said on Sunday that Ayham remains in serious but stable condition.
“He did not wake up until now,” the father said. “We pray for his recovery so that he could return to his family. I never expected that my son would be shot. Unfortunately, the violence continues nonstop and is affecting innocent people like my child.”
Ibrahim took the police to task for allegedly failing to collect illegal weapons and halt widespread crime in the Arab communities.
“The police are only good in issuing traffic tickets to drivers,” he lamented. “They have failed in reaching the criminals who pose a danger to the Arab public. Every day or two we hear of a new killing. The situation has become intolerable.”
A lawyer from Nazareth who asked not to be identified said that he and other Arab citizens do not object to authorizing the Shin Bet to assist the police in the fight against criminal activities.
“Honestly, I don’t care if they bring in the IDF, Mossad, CIA, FBI or any other security agency to fight against these criminals who have turned our lives into hell,” he said. “I also don’t understand those Arabs who have come out against the involvement of the Shin Bet. The No. 1 mission should be to collect illegal weapons and put the heads of criminal gangs behind bars. The courts, on the other hand, must issue tough sentences against the criminals, especially the arms dealers.”
On Friday afternoon, 55-year-old Naim Suri was shot dead outside his home in Nazareth. Suri was released from prison a few months ago after serving 19 years for committing a murder.
The next day, Sumaya al-Talalqa, 42, was killed after she was shot in the Bedouin town of Lakiya. Hours later, Ahmed al-Jerjawi, 30, from the Bedouin town of Shaqib al-Salam, was shot dead in a coffee shop in Beersheba.
On Thursday night, Husam Othman, 24, was shot dead in Haifa.
Another lawyer, Shadi al-Seh, said, “Every morning we wake up to another murder, as if this has become a usual thing for us. The police were able to eradicate crime in Netanya and Tel Aviv, but the violent crime moved to the Arab sector.”
For many Arabs, the swift recapture of the six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison earlier this month showed that the authorities, including the Shin Bet, are capable of doing their job, provided that they have the will and resources.
“It took the authorities less than two weeks to arrest the six prisoners,” noted Samir Ja’far of Haifa. “If the authorities are able to deploy thousands of policemen and security agents and spend millions of shekels to catch six prisoners, why can’t they do the same to stop the crime wave in the Arab sector?
“Is it because the authorities don’t care when Arabs kill Arabs, but are prepared to make a huge effort when it comes to security-related matters?”
Mashhour Fawaz, a prominent Islamic religious cleric, said the police have failed in their duty to protect Arab citizens. He claimed that the police lack the will to combat the phenomenon and called for the formation of a committee to investigate the “blunder.”
Ahmed Abu Reqeq, a schoolteacher from the Bedouin town of Tal Sheva, called for an immediate end to the violence.
“It is time for us to instill values of tolerance and peace in the hearts of our society,” he said. “We can’t rely on the police alone to do the job. Our leaders and all parents also bear responsibility.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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