Clashes erupt in Wadi Ara over Sheba stabber's death

Ahead of the man's funeral, senior Arab-Israeli political figures have called on the Arab public to take the streets.

Clashes between police forces and protesters in Wadi Ara (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Clashes between police forces and protesters in Wadi Ara
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The Wadi Ara interchange was blocked Thursday evening after clashes erupted between locals and law enforcement during a protest over the death of Mustafa Younis ahead of his funeral at 6 p.m. Israel time, N12's Fourat Nassar reported.
Hundreds of protesters gathered on Highway 65 in Wadi Ara yelling "we shall sacrifice our lives for the martyr" and "Israel is a terrorist state." Among the participants were Joint List MKs and local municipal leaders. Police forces fired stun grenades toward the protesters.

Ten locals were arrested by police for throwing stones at law enforcement, according to the Police Spokesperson's Unit. Police added that the suspects attacked officers. The unit added police blocked route 65 "in order to protect public safety."

Younis, a 27-year-old man from Kafr Ara, was shot and killed Wednesday at Ramat Gan's Sheba Medical Center after stabbing a security guard during an altercation. The incident was initially reported as a suspected terror incident, but police later confirmed the incident was criminal.

"This was a criminal incident, not a terrorist one," Ramat Gan Mayor Carmel Shama-Hacohen said at the scene. "Meaning, no terrorist incident that may have consequences or put the terrorist in the field in danger," he added.

A video published by Ynet showed Younis, whose relatives claim was mentally unstable, taking out a knife and threatening another person at the hospital's entrance. The 27-year-old's mother is seen trying to separate the two.
"A citizen told [Younis] he was walking around with no mask on, an altercation broke out and the suspect pulled out a knife," he continued. "He found him at the hospital's entrance, tried to stab a guard and another guard opened fire." A police officer at the scene confronted the mayor, asking him not to obstruct the investigation.

The Ramat Gan Municipality's spokesperson's office said police "thought for a brief moment we were in North Korea, where a police officer can silence a mayor trying to update and calm down his city's residents." The office added that "in a democracy, [people] are silenced, and the public's right to information is crashed, only under an judicial order."

A video recording of the incident circulating social media showed security guards shooting Younis multiple times when the latter was sprawling on the ground.

On Wednesday, Joint List politicians demanded an investigation be opened into the incident, with Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh saying "dead-checking is not less a crime than stabbing. The Joint List demands an immediate investigation into the killing of Mustafa Younis today at Tel Hashomer."
According to N12, Younis' mother blamed the security guards at Sheba for intentionally killing her son. "Why did they not shoot him in the legs? Why shoot him in the neck and chest?" She added that the guards "left him on the ground and did not help him."

"I did not know what to do, my son was on the ground and even when he was evacuated in an ambulance they did not let me go with them," the woman told N12. "They wanted to kill him deliberately. I demand the truth and his right," she continued. "I will not give up – I will go to the court, and if there is no fair trial, we will make a fair trial."

Ahead of the man's funeral in Wadi Ara, senior Arab-Israeli political figures have called on the Arab public to take the streets, saying "Arab masses should go out and avenge the killing of Younis by security guards."
In February, protests broke out in Wadi Ara and the Triangle area after it was reported the area was to be included in the Palestinian state's future territory under US President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century." Locals told Ynet at the time that they "will not let anyone believe such a plan could go through, even if it will cost us our lives."

US sources later claimed the initiative to "transfer" the villages to the to-be Palestinian-ruled territory was of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Following US State Secretary Mike Pompeo's visit to Israel, Odeh spoke to KAN, saying "Trump's apartheid plan will fail. The only painful question remaining is how many orphans and bereaved parents it will create on both sides." 

The politician then said "it is the obligation of anyone who believes in democracy to fight this dangerous plan in Israel and in coordination with partners worldwide."

Coming under Israeli rule in 1949, Wadi Ara (lit. "Ara Valley") and the Triangle comprise an ethnically-Palestinian area on the Green Line, Israel's border with Jordan at the time. Like other Arab-Israeli towns and villages, the area was ruled by the IDF.

In October 2000, riots broke out in the valley after a video showing a Palestinian child named Muhammad a-Dura being shot by the IDF in Gaza was published. Some 13 protesters died in the clashes in Israel's North, also known as the October Events, leading to the Ramallah lynching and sparking the Second Intifada.