Over the past week, senior police officials and Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Minister of Information Gilad Erdan (Likud) have explained that much has been done to eradicate crime in the Arab sector, but a number of veteran police officers from the north of the country claim the exact opposite, Channel 2 News reported Saturday night. These officers blame the soft police attitude, which invites more violent incidents, especially against police officers.
Minister Erdan on Saturday attacked Joint Arab List chairman MK Ayman Odeh, saying that “Ayman Odeh, as usual, is lying and inciting against police, so no one would ask him why he sabotages police entry into the Arab sector and Arab communities.”
According to Erdan, Odeh “also lied about the source of the weapons in the sector. Many weapons come from Palestinians in Judea and Samaria (the Carlo sub-machine gun and other non-IDF weapons). He avoided calling on the Arab public to report illegal weapons to police. It’s a pity he wasn’t asked if he supports the establishment of police stations in the Arab communities and in recruiting young Arabs to the police.”
Erdan further explained that “many homicides in the sector are unrelated to criminal organizations, but to a high level of violence that encourages the use of weapons even in financial disputes, unfortunately. Odeh, who does not condemn Hezbollah and other murderers, does not really work against violence. It’s all a show.”
MK Odeh replied: “One day, there will be a Minister of Public Security here who would be fighting for the personal security of Arab citizens and not against their elected leadership.”
One example of the difficult situation the police are in vis-à-vis Israeli Arabs comes from an internal investigation conducted by police two months ago, regarding the escape of an Arab detainee with assistance from local Arabs in Wadi Ara (the “Arab Triangle” in central Israel – DI).
A senior officer recommended: “The results of this investigation should be distributed among the Arab sector police stations, although I doubt how much of it would be news to them, since, as we mentioned, the recent sequence of events shows an escalation in hostility to police officers on the ground. And the police leadership’s message to the cops is, “If it isn’t about an immediate, unambiguous danger to life – there is no reason to get hurt.”
The police investigation of the detainee’s escape elucidated: “This is not a first case in the sector. At an event in Umm al-Fahm about a month ago, the locals told police officers: ‘You will not come out of here alive.'”
A senior officer who is also in charge of the Wadi Ara area has recommended boosting the forces and placing at least three police officers in each patrol car in the Arab sector. The nationwide chief of investigations passed on this recommendation to all the senior police commanders, which is where it remains, with no follow-up action.