Shin Bet to investigate Palestinian killings amid protests over inaction

Shin Bet to investigate Palestinian killings amid protests over inaction
Palestinian citizens of Israel have continually blamed the lack of action from the government and police as a primary reason for the crimewave.
2 min read
23 August, 2023
Abed al-Rahman Kashua was shot dead in the city of Tira on Monday [Getty]

Shin Bet, Israeli's internal spy agency, will aid in the investigations of both the murders of Abed al-Rahman Kashua and Shaazi Saab, the latest victims in a crime wave that has prompted Israel's Druze community to hold strikes over perceived government inaction.

The murder of Kashua, the 60-year-old director-general of the municipality of Tira, prompted Interior Minister Moshe Arbel to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging Shin Bet to investigate the crime wave that has seen leading local officials in the Palestinian community killed.

Netanyahu later confirmed that Shin Bet would try to find the killers, stating that Kashua's murder had "crossed a red line".

His government has been accused of inaction and lethargy about the crimewave affecting Palestinian communities, with 159 people killed this year - around 12 times higher than the murder rate among Jewish Israelis.

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During the funeral ceremony of Kashua on Wednesday, members of the Palestinian community in Israel voiced scathing criticism of the Israeli authorities for not doing enough.

Safwat Freij, head of the Islamic Movement, said "the State of Israel doesn't want to protect us [Palestinians]".

This sentiment was repeated by chairman of the United Arab List Mansour Abbas, who said: "Israel and its legal system don't want to protect Arab lives, so we'll [have to] start protecting ourselves."

Four people, including local mayoral candidate 53-year-old Shazi Saab and his two nephews, were killed in a shooting that Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif, the leader of the Druze community in Israel, described as a "massacre, a heinous crime and an act of terror".

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has been slammed for dismantling a unit dedicated to fighting crime among Palestinian citizens of Israel.

He has since claimed the killings were conducted by "terrorist organisations" and warned that "these militias will turn their fire against the State of Israel", calling on police to be given "additional tools and additional powers".


Israeli opposition members were quick to criticise Ben-Gvir's comments.

"What's needed is a resolute and responsible government policy that corresponds with actions on the ground. We cannot leave such a national challenge in the hands of Ben-Gvir," said former defence minister Benny Gantz.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, another settler extremist, has withheld funds for Palestinian municipalities in Israel.

The killings have prompted strike action from Israel's Druze community, who have said that the strike is "as an act of protest against the failures of the police and the government in enforcing the law and personal security".