Interior Committee tours Taibe to deal with violence in Arab sector

The trip comes a couple weeks after the murder of Yussuf Haj Yahya, a principal at the Amal high school, by masked gunman who shot him in front of a horrified group of teachers.

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September 8, 2014 20:27
3 minute read.
Closed school gate in Taibe

Closed school gate in Taibe. (photo credit: Ariel Ben Solomon)

The Knesset’s Interior Committee toured the Israeli-Arab city of Taiba on Monday, discussing how to decrease violence in the Arab sector.

Some MKs blamed the police, the police complained about the lack of cooperation from the Arab public, and many demanded the removal of illegal firearms from the streets.

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Interior Committee chairwoman, MK Miri Regev (Likud), announced an initiative to establish a subcommittee that would deal with removing illegal weapons from the streets.

The Interior Committee will vote on Thursday on whether to create the subcommittee, which would be headed by MK David Tsur (Hatnua), a former police commander.

Today, said Regev, “the weapons are used in Arab on Arab violence, but tomorrow it could be Jew on Jew.”

The trip comes a couple weeks after the murder of Yussuf Haj Yahya, a principal at the Amal high school, by a masked gunman who shot him in front of a group of teachers.

Yahya was speaking to the teachers at a meeting in his office when the assailant walked in and shot him several times in the head and chest before fleeing on foot.

Paramedics rushed Yahya in critical condition to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, where he was pronounced dead.

Central Region deputy commander Shimon Ben-Arush addressed complaints directed at the police saying that out of 15 homicides in the Triangle region, the police solved six, adding that “the investment in the Arab sector is several times the average due to a lack of evidence and cooperation.”

The police force in the Arab Triangle region, east of Kfar Saba, has increased from 90 to 250 officers and this without an increased budget, Ben- Arush said.

“The collection of arms is a complex and painful issue.

Every year we catch more weapons, but it is not enough,” he said.

The police commander said that his force would “spare nothing to solve the murder” of the principal, and has made it a top priority despite the fact that in the Triangle region “there are 100 open disputes, and each one of them is a potential murder.”

Anat Savidor, deputy regional prosecutor, said that the police are leaving no stone unturned, but that “it is a matter of education in the Arab society, where vendetta and murder of the family take place. People disappear and there is no evidence.”

United Arab List-Ta’al MK Taleb Abu Arar told The Jerusalem Post, “If a Jew was involved, the police would solve the case right away.”

“The police are not doing anything to collect the weapons from the streets,” Arar said, adding that authorities dismiss Arab on Arab violence.

Asked about the charge that the Arab public does not cooperate with the police, thus making their job more difficult, Arar responded that the opposite is the case: “The police do not cooperate with the Arab public.”

The state, he said, needs to decrease crime in the Arab sector by investing in education, dealing with high unemployment rates, and establishing new institutions.

The committee stopped by Yahya’s home to show support for the family and discussed violence in the Arab sector.

Yahya comes from a well-respected and powerful family in Taiba, and his son, Ameed, a physician, told the visiting MKs that the police not only need to find the murderer, but also those that were behind it.

“There is no security here, everyone has weapons,” he said.

United Arab List-Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi said in the Yahya family home that the police were not properly taking weapons off the streets and that “the writing was on the wall” for this murder.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.


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