For the 11th consecutive week, thousands of Palestinians protested in front of the Israeli municipality building in Umm al-Fahm against the police and discriminatory Israeli policies against the Palestinian Arab population.
The city, located on the other side of the Green Line north of the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, has witnessed a spate of homicide cases since the beginning of the year that have largely gone unresolved.
Some activists say the lack of action by Israeli police is intentional, and officers who deal with Palestinian-on-Palestinian crime see it as an internal familial or tribal issue.
However, according to the Umm al-Fahm protest movement, the role of the Israeli police has been deeply entrenched in fostering and encouraging organised and systemic crime in the Palestinian Arab community within Israel, for the purpose of “dividing our unity, tearing our social fabric, and confusing our political compass”.
“In a lot of cases, where the murderer is known, he is declared innocent by the Israeli police, which in the absence of justice is nothing but an illusion of authority,” Nidaa Kiwan, an activist from Umm al-Fahem, said.
According to the protest movement, 1,700 Palestinians have been killed in homicide cases since 2000.
A report by the Baladna Association for Arab Youth said from 2011 to 2019, 575 people were killed – the overwhelming majority being men (83.7 percent) below the age of 30.
In 2020, a record 97 homicide cases were reported – the most since Israel’s establishment in 1948 at the expense of Palestinians.
According to local media, this year’s victims already number 20.
It is noteworthy that the number of murder victims in the Palestinian community in the occupied interior at the beginning of the year 2021 and until today has reached 21.