Joint List MK injured during weekly Umm al-Fahm protests, four arrested

The weekly protests usually attract hundreds of participants. And while clashes with police are not uncommon, this week's protest was exceptional in their scope.

Israeli policemen detain a protester during clashes in the Israeli-Arab town of Umm el-Fahm (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
Israeli policemen detain a protester during clashes in the Israeli-Arab town of Umm el-Fahm
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen was injured by a rubber bullet shot by police during Friday's protests in the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, Israeli media reported.
Some 35 protesters were reportedly injured and required medical attention, with one suffering a critical injury to his head and evacuated to the Rambam Medical Center for emergency surgery. According to eye witnesses, he was hit in his head by a stun grenade.       
As a result, MK Jabareen has called on the commander of the Umm al-Fahm police station to resign immediately.
"The brutal and racist police has assaulted non-violent protesters who only asked for a sense of personal security," MK Jabareen tweeted. "Commander of the Umm al-Fahm police station must resign immediately, and that is the demand of the entire Arab public in Israel. Police officers who exert power on protesters and not criminals will not break us. We will continue demonstrating," he added. 
The incident took place during the seventh consecutive week of mass protests being organized in Umm al-Fahm over the failed attempts by the Israeli government and Israel Police to properly address the rising crime rates and increasing violence in the country's Arab sector
The weekly protests usually attract hundreds of participants. And while clashes with police are not uncommon, this week's protest was exceptional in their scope.
A police statement noted that eight police officer were lightly injured after protesters began bombarding officers on the scene with rocks and attempting to block nearby roads. Four suspects were arrested, according to police, for violating public order and were taken in for questioning at the local police station.  
Umm al-Fahm Mayor Dr. Samir Mahamid, who was also injured during the protest, has claimed that the police statement is misleading at best. 
"Those who started the riots were the police. The person who gave the order was a police commander. Protesters were holding a quiet prayer and were asked to keep quiet and to avoid violent incidents," mayor Mahamid said. 
He added that when protesters began marching with 21 coffins marking 21 recent victims from the Arab community, the police started blasting protesters with water cannons and throwing stun grenades toward them. 
Mayor Mahamid claims that he suffered injuries to his face and head. 

The Umm al-Fahm Municipality later issued a statement supporting the claims made by Jabareen and Mahamid. 
"The Israel Police acted in a brutal manner... kids who were present were hit by stun grenades and tear gas... Some of those who were arrested were injured and did not receive medical treatment," the municipality statement read. 
Later on Friday, the city's municipality held an emergency meeting and decided do allow the weekly protests to continue. Furthermore, it announced that it will be arranging mass protests in case the police asks the court to extend the arrests that were made during Friday's protests, Kan reported.  
The municipality also noted that it will be demanding the resignation of several police commanders from nearby stations.
The Knesset is expected to convene on Monday, March 1, to address the violence in the Arab sector in Israel, despite a recess currently in effect due to the upcoming elections. 
"The Arab community is counting murder victims day after day. The criminal organizations are like a cancer in our body. The police is not addressing the crime. Murderers are walking free," said Joint List MK Ahmed Tibi, who insisted that the discussion take place despite the recess.