Jerusalem, Jul 13 (EFE) – Four Arab Israelis were killed in separate shootings in what has so far been one of the deadliest days this year, authorities reported on Thursday.
So far, 121 Israeli Arabs have been killed in 2023, which is already higher than the death toll in 2022.
The shootings that occurred on Wednesday night began in the Arab Israeli city of Kafr Qara with the murder of Haifa resident Alaa Knaanah, 30.
The incident was followed by the shooting of Amir Wani, 39, in the northern Israeli Arab village of Shfar’am; Yosef Abu Halel, 54, was shot in the village of Ara; and in Nazareth, Abd Al-Kader Ouaisi, 23, was also killed.
All deaths were linked to organized crime, according to the Israel police.
Police reported that Ouaisi died during a clash between two clans over a disputed piece of land that has cost the lives of several people in Nazareth.
Ouaisi was the nephew of that city’s deputy mayor, Mahmud Ouiasi, whose son was also shot dead earlier this year.
Arab Israelis make up 21% of the population and this year has seen a surge of unprecedented violence.
The 121 murders in 2023 — 109 of them shootings — exceeds the total 2022 tally that saw 116 Arab Israelis killed.
The deadliest year so far was in 2021 when 126 Arab Israelis were killed, according to Abraham Initiatives, which works towards greater equality and tolerance between Israeli Jews and Arabs.
According to the organization, 75% of murders in the Arab community were linked to organized crime, while the rest were attributed to blood feuds, disputes between family clans, or femicides involving family members.
Israeli authorities have failed to stop the bloodshed despite pledging to deploy more resources, including more police and funds to address social issues that underpin the wave of violence.
Many community leaders blame the police, who have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, but they point to decades of neglect, abandonment and discrimination by government offices as the root cause of the problem.
The chairman of the United Arab List (Ra’am), Mansur Abbas, on Thursday, slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for “doing nothing to stop the violence.”
“Not a single decision has been made and not a single significant step has been taken,” the politician added.
In June, Netanyahu formed an inter-ministerial committee to tackle violence in the Arab community, but tangible results are yet to be seen.
Many consider that having Itamar Ben Gvir, who is well known for his anti-Arab rhetoric, as the leader of the National Security Ministry is a major source of conflict.EFE