Taleb al-Sana (file)
Taleb al-Sana (file)Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Leaders of Israel's 1.7 million Arabs declared a general strike throughout the country on Tuesday in protest at the recent deaths of two Bedouin men in confrontations with police, AFP reports. 

Former United Arab List (UAL) MK Taleb al-Sana, chairman of an umbrella organization of Arab Israeli groups, said that schools and businesses would
close from the Galilee in the north to the Negev desert in the south.

"The general strike today is to send a strong message that the entire Arab community... strongly protests the murders of two citizens of the state of Israel whose only crime is being Arab," Sana, who is himself Bedouin, told Army Radio.

Sami al-Jaar died of a gunshot wound last week during a police drug raid on the Negev Bedouin town of Rahat.

Police have opened an enquiry to determine if the shot was fired by officers or townspeople.

During Jaar's funeral on Sunday, Sami al-Zayadna, 47, died of a heart attack during clashes in which police fired tear gas.

Following Zayadna's burial on Monday, Palestinian Arab terrorists - some of them masked - hurled rocks at the Rahat police station, police said.

Police statements said that five suspected rock-throwers were detained and that more arrests were expected.

Officials in Rahat and in the northern Israeli town of Umm el-Fahm said schools were closed and shops were shuttered on Tuesday.

Arab students at Tel Aviv University staged a protest outside the campus fence, drawing jeers and angry retorts from passers-by, according to Israeli public radio.

Other media reported a similar protest by university students in the northern city of Haifa.