Unrest Spreads to Northern Israel
Rioting by Arab extremists spread to Israel's north on Saturday, amid increased rocket fire from Gaza and a tense security situation throughout the country.
Saturday afternoon, riots erupted outside the Arab village of Arara (south of Umm-Al-Fahm; just outside 1949 Armistice lines), with a violent mob attacking Israel police forces. Two men were arrested.
In a separate incident, three Israeli Arabs were arrested in Taibe after attacking an Israeli police officer there. The officer suffered light injuries.
Earlier, at least 150 Arabs demonstrated in Nazareth, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police cars.
Meanwhile, at the entrance to the town square near Qalansawa, hundreds of Arabs rioted Saturday, hurling large rocks at Sharon Region riot dispersal police. A SWAT team leader was injured during the riots.
Hundreds of Arabs are also rioting as of Saturday night outside of Wadi Ara.
All of those riots have broken in the "Triangle," a swath of land covering the cities of Tayibe and Tira, in which about 300,000 Arabs live. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) has proposed a land swap of the Triangle multiple times in the framework of negotiations, offering to swap the heavily Arab-populated area with the Palestinian Authority (PA) for Jewish settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria.
Rioting throughout Jerusalem last week has spread throughout Arab villages Saturday, after rumors circulated that 16-year-old Mohammed Abu-Khder's murder was an act of Jewish "revenge" over the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19).
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as well as some in the international media, have since repeated those claims as fact. Israeli leaders - including the mayor of Jerusalem and Prime Minister Netanyahu - rushed to condemn the murder, despite the lack of clear evidence suggesting that the murder was an act of nationalistic revenge.
Conflicting testimonies from the boy's own parents about an alleged attempt to abduct their younger son some time before have raised further questions about the possibility of criminal or some other motive.