Three Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel were injured early today, two seriously, in three shooting incidents in the Arab towns of Ramla, Rahat and Ara in Israel, marking the latest in a recent rise in violence blamed mainly on Israeli police inaction towards proliferation of illegal weapons in the Arab communities.
In Ramla, in the central region, a mosque imam was seriously injured after he was hit by seven bullets while he was on his way to dawn prayer in one of the city’s mosques.
In Rahat, in the Naqab region in the south of the country, the city’s engineer was hit by three bullets in his foot as he was leaving the dawn prayer in a mosque and was transported to hospital for treatment.
In the town of Ara, in the center of the country, a 20-year-old youth was seriously injured in a shooting attack.
Reports said 13 Palestinians were killed last month in Arab towns in Israel bringing the total of at least 69 killed as a result of shooting incidents since the beginning of the year.
Last week, thousands of Palestinians marched in multiple locations across Arab towns and cities in Israel to raise concern over the wave of violence and crime, blaming Israeli police for not doing anything to fight the rise in violence in Arab communities.
A one-day general strike was also observed on October 3 at the call of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee to protest Israeli police’s apathy and inaction towards the crime wave, and on Thursday, hundreds of vehicles raising black flags travelled from northern Israel to Jerusalem to protest and draw nation-wide attention to rise in violence and crime in their communities.
Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi, two Arab members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, directly blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the spread of crime in Palestinian communities in Israel by not doing anything to stop it as the case in Jewish communities where crime is less than half that in the Arab areas, while the head of the Arab Follow Up Committee, Mohammad Baraka, accused the police of colluding with, and not just doing nothing about, the criminals.
Arab leaders in Israel say that more than 90 percent of the weapons sold in the black market in the Palestinian communities come from Israeli security parties and 60 percent of the murder cases were carried out with these weapons.