Leaders of the Higher Arabic Monitoring Committee in Israel started a hunger strike on Tuesday in front of SharonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office in Jerusalem.
The leaders are demanding Israel to void of the results of a probe carried out by the Israeli police into the events of October 2000, when the police shot and killed 13 Arab residents of Israel.
Israeli investigators appointed by the Justice MinistryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s police department reported that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the probe found no basis to prosecute any of the policemenÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Arab leaders and protestors set up a protest tent outside SharonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office, and said that they intend to remain there for three nights, and will join the hunger strike except those who choose not to strike for health reasons.
Shawqi Khatib, head of the Arab Monitoring Committee, reported that the strike is the second protest step, after SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s demonstration which was held at the same location.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We demand Israel to crush and burn the shameful report of the investigation unitÃ¢â‚¬Â Khatib said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We demand Israel to implement the Or Commission recommendations; everyone who planned and carried the murders should be brought to justiceÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Parents of Martyrs Committee, is conducting preparations for central activities on Saturday, October 1, 2005.
The committee is planning to march from Kafer Manda village towards Sakhneen where the central activities will take place.
The protest activities will start on Thursday 29 September 2005, and will march through Wadi Ara area until Nazareth which marks the end of first stage of the protest.
The second stage will be on September 30, 2005, starting from Nazareth to Kafer Manda.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
The third stage of the protest will be a march from Kafer Manda until Sakhneen.
Israel acquits police officers involved in the death of 12 Arab residentsÃ‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – Sunday, 18 September 2005
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The internal affairs investigation department at the Israeli Police acquitted on Sunday Israeli police officers who were involved in the death of 12 Arab residents of Israel shot killed by the police late October,Ã‚Â 2000.
The families of the victims protested outside the court, in Jerusalem, after its ruling; Arab member of Knesset Azmi Bishara, Balad party, called for widespread protests.
One of the cases which Israeli investigators closed was the case of Israeli police commander Alik Ron, and district commander Moshe Waldman, who were involved of giving direct orders to their snipers to open fire at the residents, said to be throwing stones at the police during clashes which erupted at the beginning of Al Aqsa Intifada in the occupied territories.
Israeli investigators claimed not finding sufficient evidence to indict any of the officers, and that they Ã¢â‚¬Å“were not able to locate some of the officers involved in the shootingsÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Arab Member of Knesset (MK) Abdul-Malik Dahamshe (United Arab List) said that this report Ã¢â‚¬Å“a repeat of the murder of the 13 victims, and signals to Israeli soldiers and policemen that it is permissible to spill the blood of Arabs without fear of punishment or trialÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Twelve Arab residents of Israel, and one Palestinian from Gaza were killed during the clashes; dozens of residents were injured.
MK Azmi Bishara said that it was clear from the first moment that the court would sweep away Ã¢â‚¬Å“the crime instead of brining the guilty parties to justiceÃ¢â‚¬Â, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We cannot remain silent, I would recommend a general strike and protests in every Arab area in IsraelÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Hadash party chairman, MK Mohammad Barakeh, said that acquitting the police officers involved in the crime does not mean that they are innocent, Ã¢â‚¬Å“It means that the state of Israel is guiltyÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The state killed its residents with such a decisionÃ¢â‚¬Â, Barakeh said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Internal Affairs Unit is actually saying that the murderer is the one that sends out the guilty, and that is the State of IsraelÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will not stop, we will sue all of those involved in killing our children, we will sue them in Israel and in international forumsÃ¢â‚¬Â, Barakeh reported, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will look for justice elsewhere, if Israeli justice cannot bring relief to its residentsÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Lawyers of Adalah (The Legal Center for Minority Rights in Israel), which represent the families of the victims, received copies of the 80-page report on Sunday morning.
Haaretz said that the conclusions of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“investigationÃ¢â‚¬Â will be released to the public on Sunday afternoon.
The court ignored attacks carried out by extremist Jewish groups against the Arab residents of Israel, which included burning a mosque in Tiberius, and hurling stones at a mosque in Jaffa, in addition to several attacks against Arab residents of Israel, in Jewish cities.Ã‚Â
The investigation unit claimed that the Ã¢â‚¬Å“riotsÃ¢â‚¬Â did not enable the investigators to reach the area in the right time and collect testimonies and facts, and claimed that it was not safe for the interrogators to be in the area.
Some of the claims presented by the court were;
– Some evidences were changed, or disappeared.
– The families of the victims failed to cooperate.
– Thousands of residents were involved in the events, which made the work of the police more difficult.
– Police investigators were unable to locate the policemen involved in the killings, and that the investigators were not able to collect their testimonies directly after the incidents occurred.