The Negev rages as Israel kills another Palestinian

The Negev rages as Israel kills another Palestinian
Anger boils in the southern city of Rahat, occupied Palestine, after Sami Zayadna suffocated to death on tear gas fired by the Israeli police during Sami al-Ja'ar's funeral.
3 min read
19 January, 2015
Fifty Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed by Israeli police since 2000 [al-Araby]

Clashes erupt between Israeli police and youths after thousands bid farewell to Sami Zayadna, 44, in the city of Rahat, the Negev, occupied Palestine.

Zayadna died on Sunday after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli police during Sami al-Ja'ar's, 22, funeral. Al-Ja'ar was fatally shot by an Israeli police officer late Wednesday during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in Rahat.

The High Follow-up Committee for Arab Affairs - an extra-parliamentary organization that represents Palestinian citizens in Israel - told al-Araby al-Jadeed that Arab political forces have unanimously agreed to hold demonstrations and have called for a general strike tomorrow, Tuesday, across the Palestinian community in Israel.

A solidarity demonstration is also set to take place in Gaza on Tuesday 20 January.

On Monday evening youth organisations and popular committees organised demonstrations across the Palestinian community in Israel including in Haifa, Yaffa and Nazareth to condemn the Israeli oppression and police violence.  

     The killings of Arab citizens by the police have become commonplace.
- The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

The Israeli Department for Police Investigation announced it would not investigate the police's conduct in relation to the incidents leading to al-Ja'ar and Zayadna's death.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel - said in a statement posted on its Facebook page: "The killings of Arab citizens by the police have become commonplace and are not extraordinary events."

Since 2000 and the October clashes when the Israeli police shot dead 13 Palestinian citizens, the police has killed a further 50 Palestinians.

No police officers have yet been charged.

The statement added that the Israeli investigation department often closes cases against police officers, "giving them the green light to continue with these crimes and supporting the police's view that Arab citizens are enemies that it is permissible to kill."

Al-Ja'ar's funeral, held on Sunday, was coordinated with the police and attended by around 8,000 mourners, including Zayadna.

According to reports from the ground the funeral was peaceful until a police car approached the mourners when the funeral procession arrived at a local Rahat cemetery. This happened in breach of a previous arrangement when the police agreed to avoid the funeral as their prescence would inflame people's anger.

Enraged youth, who have been targeted by the Israeli police especially since "mass struggle succeeded in bringing down the Prawer Plan [a 2011 bill also know as the Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev]," responded by throwing stones at the police car, according to Adalah.

Last year mass demonstrations organised primarily by youths in the Negev stopped the Prawer Plan Law. The law aimed to uproot more than 40,000 Palestinians living in unrecognised villages from their historical land. 

The Israeli police responded to the attacks at the funeral by firing live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas, injuring around 23 people - two are currently in critical condition - and killing Zayadna.

"The Israeli police have exercised an escalating retaliatory policy unprecedented in its violence and brutality towards the residents of the Negev to teach them a lesson," read a statement by Adalah.

Activists using the hash-tag Our Blood is not Cheap (#دمنا_مش_رخيص) reported on continuing clashes, while Israeli police reported numerous arrests.