World Bulletin/News Desk
A general strike was declared in all Arab towns across Israel on Sunday in protest of the Saturday shooting of an Arab youth by Israeli police, an incident that the police argued was self-defense after he tried to assault its personnel with a knife.
Eyewitnesses said that all schools and businesses have closed in response to an invitation by the Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an umbrella group comprised of local Arab political parties and NGOs.
The strike came after a night of protests and clashes in the northern Arab Israeli town of Kafr Kanna where Khayr al-Din Hamdan, 22, who was killed by Israeli police during a raid to arrest another Arab resident of the town.
The Israeli police said Hemdan tried to attack its personnel with a knife during the Saturday raid.
It noted that policemen fired some rounds in the air at first, but had to shoot on Hemdan when their lives became at risk.
Thousands took to the streets on Saturday and some threw rocks and lit fires at the entrance to Kafr Kana near a main road hours after Khayr al-Din al-Hamdan was shot by police.
Video from a private security camera appearing to show the incident showed Hamdan trying unsuccessfully to break the windows of the police van with a sharp object. When officers got out of the van, Hamdan retreated and footage showed at least one officer shoot him with a pistol.
After he fell to the ground, officers were seen dragging Hamdan into the van and it left the scene.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the incident was being scrutinised by the Justice Ministry's police investigations branch.
Yet, the Islamic Movement in Israel held the police responsible for the killing, while Mojahed Awawdeh, head of Kafr Kanna's local council, said that the police shot Hemdan dead from a close range after a quarrel.
"The whole thing started when a police patrol car arrived at night to arrest an Arab man," Awawdeh told Anadolu Agency. "Hemdan was at the scene and got into an argument with police, who shot him dead from a range of one meter," he added.
Israel may cancel citizenships
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said that he would ask his new interior minister Gilad Erdan to consider cancelling the citizenship of those who called for the destruction of the state of Israel.
The Arab residents of Israel – sometimes called the Arabs of 1948 – carry the Israeli nationality.
Netanyahu's office described Arab demonstrations in Kafr Kanna earlier in the day against the killing of the 22-year-old man as "riots."
"Israel is a state of law that will not tolerate either riots or turbulence," Netanyahu was quoted by the statement as saying.
He vowed to take measures against those who throw rocks and block roads and also those who call for Israel's replacement with a Palestinian state.
He said that he would ask his interior minister to revoke the Israeli nationality of those who called for the destruction of the state of Israel.
Israeli Arab lawmaker Ahmed Tibi said the state's security forces considered the Arab minority as an enemy, adding that such treatment by police could not happen against Jews. Israeli police chief Yohanan Danino denied the police discriminated against any sector in Israeli society.
Hamdan's relative was eventually detained, police said. The relative was suspected of setting off a stun grenade against a rival clan in the village where tensions between families often run high.
Arrests in W. Bank, Kafr Kanna, East Jerusalem
Israeli security forces have detained four Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and three Arabs in the northern Israeli town of Kafr Kanna overnight.
The Israeli army said in a statement broadcasted by its radio that it detained four Palestinians, including a local Hamas member, in the West Bank over involvement in activities against Israeli targets.
Israeli forces routinely conduct detention campaigns against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on claims that they are "wanted" by Israeli authorities.
Over 7,000 Palestinians are currently languishing in prisons throughout Israel, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs.
Separately, the Israeli police said that its troops arrested three Arab Israeli citizens in Kafr Kanaa for involvement in clashes against security troops after the funeral of al-Hamdan.
Israeli police also detained four Palestinian youths in East Jerusalem after it accused them of throwing rocks on the light rail and a police force.
Police said on Twitter that two of the youths were from the northern East Jerusalem town of Shuafat, adding that they were suspected of throwing rocks on the light rail in Beit Hanina, which is located in close proximity to Shuafat.
"Minor damage was made to the rail," police said, ruling out the presence of human casualties in the event.
The light rail connects West Jerusalem with the Pisgat Ze'ev and Neve Yaakov settlements in East Jerusalem, passing through Shuafat and parts of Beit Hanina.
Police, meanwhile, added that the other two Palestinian youths were detained under suspicions that they threw rocks and fireworks on a police force during their participation in a demonstration.
Scores of Palestinian youths, meanwhile, clashed with Israeli troops at the entrance to Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem.
Police fired teargas and rubber bullets at the masked youths who also threw rocks at the Israeli troops.
Scores of people had experienced temporary asphyxiation as a result, while two Palestinians at least were wounded with rubber bullets, eyewitnesses said.
They added that other clashes had broken out in the Arab majority neighborhood of At-Tur between Israeli troops and Palestinian youths.Last Mod: 09 Kasım 2014, 10:52