Israeli police clash with Bedouin protesters during the funeral of Sami Ja’ar, who was shot by officers last week during a police operation in the southern city of Rahat.
Text by Michal Rotem
Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
Israeli police shot and killed 43-year-old Sami Ziadna and wounded a 50-year-old man, along with dozens of others Sunday night during clashes that erupted at a funeral in the southern city of Rahat.
Police fired live bullets, tear gas and sound grenades during the funeral of Sami Ja’ar, who was shot to death in the early hours of Thursday morning during a police operation. The Police Investigations Unit is currently looking into that incident.
In the wake of Ja’ar’s shooting death, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee (an independent political organization whose aim is to coordinate the political actions of various Arab bodies in Israel) declared a general strike last Friday and Sunday. The Rahat’s Municipality and Israel Police ostensibly agreed that police officers would not be present during the funeral, so as not to stoke the anger of the residents. Despite the agreement, a police car showed up to the funeral, and residents began to throw stones.
According to a report in Haaretz, the officers responded to shots being fired in the air, as well as firecrackers, by firing teargas. Reinforcements were rushed in to evacuate the policemen to safety. Medical teams treated 15 mourners, who were all evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva.
In the wake of the incident, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee declared that the strike will last until Tuesday. Demonstrations were set to take place Monday in Rahat, Haifa, Shefa-‘Amr, Ben-Gurion University, Haifa University and Tel Aviv University.
A previous version of this article mistakenly described one of the wounded at the funeral as a 12 year old.