Arab Rock Throwings Spread To Galilee

Arab attacks in the Galilee may signal an Israeli-Arab uprising similar to that of October 2000, in which Israeli-Arabs joined the Oslo War.

Contact Editor
Ezra HaLevi,

Israeli motorists were repeatedly targeted over the weekend by Israeli-Arab rock-throwers along Highway 65, which runs through Wadi Ara in the Galilee. Police and local residents say the incidents have become more and more common in recent months.

Wadi Ara – named Nahal Eeron in Hebrew but still widely referred to by the Arabic name – connects the Caesarea area with Megiddo. It is considered a strategically vital transportation route connecting central Israel with its north. In October, 2000, simultaneous to the launching of the Oslo War by PA Arabs, Israeli-Arabs in Wadi Ara rioted, blocked roads, attacked Jewish passersby and clashed with police.

Locals say that recent Arab assaults may signal an uprising similar to that of October 2000.

Three Arabs were arrested Friday at the Arara Junction after throwing rocks at motorists. They later told investigators that they intended to hit Israeli soldiers. Two motorists were wounded lightly, and two cars were damaged.

This is the seventh recent reported attack at the Arara Junction, according to police. The spate of attacks is not limited to Highway 65, however. On Highway 574, near the Kalaniyot Junction and Baka al-Gharbiya, at least 12 vehicles were targeted by rock-throwers in recent months – many driven by female motorists.

Police told Maariv that the attacks occur in waves, and have only been contained thanks to a large increase in police presence along the major highway. They admitted, however, that such a deployment is not sustainable in the long term.

Wadi Ara is also home to the largest rural concentration of Arabs in Israel and contains the city of Umm el-Fahm, known for its radical leadership. The leader of the northern branch of the Israeli-Arab Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, was recently indicted for incitement after calling for an “Israeli-Arab Intifada.”

Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman has suggested that Wadi Ara be handed over to the PA in a future permanent status deal.