Justice Ministry probes fatal police shooting in Kafr Kana

Rioting continued on Sunday in Kafr Kana in northern Israel, following the killing of a local man Friday night by police; 20 arrested; protests at universities.

November 9, 2014 14:37
4 minute read.

Israeli Arabs clash with police in Kafr Kana

Israeli Arabs clash with police in Kafr Kana

The Justice Ministry on Sunday convened an emergency meeting regarding the police’s fatal shooting of a Kafr Kana man, as riots continued in the Arab sector for the second day.

The Justice Ministry confirmed that its Police Investigation Department has questioned those involved in Friday’s incident and is performing lab work and examining video footage of the shooting of Kheir a-Din Hamdan, 22.

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Investigators have reviewed the scene of the shooting and have been instructed by Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein to gather evidence as quickly as possible, the ministry said.

Late on Sunday afternoon, Northern District police arrested 22 Israeli Arabs, including three men in their 20s, for throwing rocks at officers during a riot in Kafr Kana, northeast of Nazareth. No one had been hurt in the protests.

In Umm el-Fahm, police arrested four men suspected of throwing rocks at traffic on Route 65 during a protest in the city earlier in the day.

In the evening, a group of around 30 young men in Nazareth burned tires and blocked the Mosachim junction before officers dispersed them, the district police said.

Elsewhere Sunday night, police said that some 30 youths at the entrance to the Galilee town of Turan threw rocks at passing traffic before they were dispersed by police.

Three of the youths were arrested.

With the tension over the Kafr Kana shooting focused on the North, police in the district have received reinforcements of hundreds of officers, who are mainly being deployed in and around the city to respond to violent disturbances.

Police decided on Sunday to postpone a soccer game between Bnei Sakhnin and Maccabi Petah Tikva scheduled for Monday night in Ilut, near Nazareth.

The Arab sector declared a nationwide strike to protest the killing of Hamdan, who was shot after he had been banging on the window of a police van while holding a knife. Officers said they feared their lives were in danger, but in a surveillance camera video of part of the incident, released on Saturday, Hamdan appears to have been walking away with his back to police when he was shot.

The protests spread to university campuses. An estimated 200 Arab students at the University of Haifa staged a demonstration on Sunday, with some chanting “Israel is a terrorist state.” A number of participants waved Palestinian flags.

The students demanded that the police dismiss the officers involved in the Kafr Kana shooting. They called for the sacking of Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

“The crime – being an Arab; the punishment – death,” they chanted.

“Hey, Defense Minister [Moshe] Ya’alon, how many children did you kill today?” was another chant.

In another demonstration that took place just outside the entrance to the campus, students from the campus organizations of Hadash and Balad protested alongside Kafr Kana residents.

Protests also took place at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rightwing student groups held counter-demonstrations at the same time.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel will not tolerate violent rallies in which the protesters call for the country’s destruction.

“We are not prepared to tolerate more demonstrations in the heart of our cities in which Hamas or ISIS [Islamic State] flags are waved and calls are made to redeem Palestine with blood and fire, calling in effect for the destruction of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

“I have instructed the interior minister to use all means, including evaluating the possibility of revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel,” he said.

“Israel is a nation of law.

Whoever violates the law will be punished severely. We will not tolerate disturbances and riots. We will take determined action against those who throw stones, firebombs and fireworks, and block roads, and against demonstrations that call for our destruction,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister blamed the violence on the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and radical Islamic movements.

Groups funded by extremist Islamic movements should be outlawed, he said.

“Standing behind this incitement are – first of all – the various Islamic movements: Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel,” he said. “In the forefront, at least vis-a-vis the agitation on the Temple Mount, are the Murabitun and the Murbitat – movements engaged in incitement and which are financed by funds from extremist Islam.

“I have instructed that they be outlawed. But also standing behind this incitement is the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Abu Mazen [President Mahmoud Abbas]. The website of its official [governing] body, Fatah, explains that the Jewish people were, in effect, never here, that the Temple was never here, that David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the kings and prophets of Israel are all fiction,” Netanyahu said.

“This is nothing less than a clear attempt to distort not only the modern truth, but also the historical truth. Against these distortions and these gross lies, we must tell the truth to our people and to the world,” the prime minister said.

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