Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Haneen Zoabi, stated that she was hit by two rubber-coated bullets fired by the Israeli police during Wednesday clashes in Umm al-Fahm, after the police violently attacked protesters who took off to the streets to counter a march by fundamentalist settlers. The Arabs48 news website reported that Zoabi was deliberately targeted by the police.
The police fired dozens of gas bombs and rubber-coated bullets at the protesters and also chased and clubbed several residents before arresting them.
Dozens of residents were wounded by rubber-coated bullets, while others were treated after inhaling gas fired by the police. The wounded residents were moved to local hospitals.
A local reporter, identified as Mohammad Watad, was hit by a gas bomb in his neck, and member of the National Democratic Assembly, Murad Haddad, was shot by a rubber-coated bullet in his foot leading to a fracture.
The Arabs48 news website reported that the police deliberately attacked political leaders including Mohammad Zeidan, head of the Higher Follow-up Committee; MK Dr. Jamal Zahalka; Awad Abdul-Fattah, secretary-general of the National Democratic Assembly; Umm al-Fahm mayor, Khaled Hamdan; MK Afou Agbaria and several other political and social figures.
MK Zoabi told the Arabs48 news that âthe real threat against the protesters did not actually come from the extremist settlers, but in fact came from the police who deliberately attacked the protesters with the intent to hurt themâ.
She added that the police started firing rubber-coated bullets way before any clashes took place, and that the police apparently intended to send a message stating that âArabs who defend themselves and stand for their rights, will be punishedâ.
Zoabi further stated that the police apparently agrees with the mentality and stances of the extreme fundamentalist right-wingers in Israel, âtherefore, the police is more dangerous that the extremists, as policemen can justify the use violence without being punishedâ.
She added that the Arabs will continue to defend themselves and their lands, and will always demand their legitimate rights in their own historical country.