In the wake of the violent clashes that broke out during a protest by Israeli Arabs in north-central Israel, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beytenu) warned on Friday evening that there has been a radicalization among the Israeli Arab public.
“These are serious statements attesting to radicalization," said Aharonovitch, after the protesters who gathered in Wadi Ara called for the kidnapping of soldiers.
He stressed that the instigators will be treated to the full extent of the law and added, “We will not allow such incidents to harm daily life."
In the violent protest on Friday afternoon, the demonstrators waved Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags and blocked roads.
Police officers who tried to disperse the demonstrators used tear gas, and the protesters responded by throwing rocks at the officers. Two officers were among five people injured. At least one protester was arrested.
Among those participating in the protest was MK Mohammed Barakeh of the far left Communist Hadash party.
"This demonstration is against the violence of the IDF and against the illegal arrests and illegal activities of the IDF in the territories," he declared.
Operation Brother’s Keeper, said Barakeh, “comes to solve the problem by force. Netanyahu prefers bodies of hostages over living hostages.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, said in response to the violence that all those demonstrators who expressed support for the kidnapping of soldiers “should be treated as terrorists in every respect.”
Friday’s violence follows remarks by MK Ahmed Tibi, a Deputy Knesset Speaker, who said on Friday that Hamas is not a terror organization, 15 days after two Hamas terrorists kidnapped three Israeli teenagers and in the midst of a rain of rocket fire on Israel from the Hamas-enclave Gaza.
Tibi provided an interview to Hamas's Palestine magazine Friday, where he alleged that the organization is "not a terror organization."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)