World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli opposition leader and head of the Labor Party Isaac Herzog on Saturday blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for recent unrest in Israel's Arab villages and towns.
"Those who pour oil on the fire should not be surprised by the heat of the flames,” Israel Radio quoted Herzog as saying.
Clashes erupted between the Arab residents of Kafr Kanna, a majority Arab town in northern Israel, and Israeli police early this month, shortly after Israeli police shot and killed 22-year-old Khair al-Din Hemdan when he allegedly tried to assault a policeman with a knife.
The police's account about the shooting was refuted by Arab-Israeli community leaders who cited footage from a security camera that recorded the incident.
A general strike was declared in all Arab towns across Israel after event in protest against Hemdan's killing.
Herzog attributed the escalation of violence in Arab towns and villages to what he described as Netanyahu's "cynical" threat that Arabs involved in violence would be forced to live in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in the occupied West Bank.
"To all those who are shouting against Israel and demonstrating against it — you are welcome to move to the Palestinian Authority or to Gaza, Israel won’t stand in the way," Netanyahu was quoted by Israel Public Radio as saying.
"This direction could lead to a national crisis," Herzog said in comment.
Netanyahu's office has not commented on Herzog's remarks yet.
Tension has been running high in the region since Israeli authorities sealed access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem after the shooting of an extremist Jewish rabbi in the city before reopening it hours later.
The unrest mounted further after Israeli forces killed a young Palestinian man suspected of shooting the rabbi in a raid last week on his East Jerusalem home.
Several Israeli parliamentarians have also entered the mosque complex in recent days, drawing the ire of Muslim worshippers and official condemnation from Arab and Muslim countries.
Groups of Jewish settlers, too, have forced their way into the site, prompting clashes between Muslim worshippers and Israeli forces.
A few days ago, an Israeli girl was killed when she was stabbed in the West Bank along with two other Israeli settlers by a Palestinian.
The attack came shortly after an Israeli soldier was injured after being stabbed near a Tel Aviv train station by a Palestinian from the Askar refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus.
The attacks came a few days after an Israeli baby was killed when a Palestinian driver plowed into a group of Israeli pedestrians in West Jerusalem.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Kasım 2014, 11:57