Israeli Arabs strike over death of protester in attack on police

Arab towns in the Galilee declare a strike over death of protester during anti-police riot. Police say rioter was killed in self-defense.

Arutz Sheva Staff and AFP ,

Arab protest (illustration)
Arab protest (illustration)
Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

Arab Israeli towns went on strike Wednesday over the killing of a man during clashes in front of a police station that lead to fresh accusations of abuse and discrimination.

Schools, public transport, stores and municipal offices were closed in Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, according to city hall, as well as in other cities in the Galilee region.

Mohammed Taha, 21, was killed by a private security guard late Monday after protesters attempted to storm a police station in the Arab city of Kafr Qassem. Protesters threw rocks at the police.

Taha's father Mahmud alleged his son was killed in "cold blood." However, the Israel police concluded that the guard acted appropriately and that his life had been in danger.

The guard said that he had fired a warning shot into the air and only opened fire on Taha when the protester ignored the warning shot and continued to advance on him.

The death prompted an outpouring of anger toward the police.

"The police's role is to protect citizens, not to attack them and kill our children in cold blood," Nazareth city hall said in a statement.

The most prominent Arab Israeli body, known as the High Monitoring Committee, said blame for the killing should rest with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.