Dr. Samir Mahamid is the mayor of Umm al-Fahm, the largest city in the “Arab Triangle” – a concentration of predominantly Muslim Arab towns and villages in the northern part of central Israel, located between two major, largely Jewish cities, Hadera and Afula. Dr. Mahamid has been described as one of a new generation of Arab mayors in Israel, seeking to bring practical solutions and circumvent political roadblocks in the way of improving the local quality of life.
Sunday night was a tough one for moderate and practical Arab mayors in Israel. The murders in nearby Hadera were carried out by two residents of his city. In a Monday morning interview with FM103, he was desperate to make clear just how abhorrent he found these murders: “I am very surprised,” he began. “We condemn every murder for being a murder. For me, such an act should not be done. Murder is murder as far as we’re concerned. As mayor and on behalf of the residents of Umm al-Fahm, we condemn the attack. For us, the killing of human beings is a red line that must not be crossed.”
When asked if he knew the terrorists, Mayor Mahamid replied: “At least one, I know his family, I don’t know him personally, but I know the family. This is a very normative family. That’s what I can say. I did not talk to them.”
Asked if ISIS was operating in Umm al-Fahm, Mahamid replied: “You should pose this question to security officials. I’m the mayor, I don’t handle security in the city, that’s the first thing. Second, the initial information is that these are ISIS members, but the security people should check this and not I.”
Asked where the terrorists got the weapons, the mayor replied: “Everyone knows, unfortunately, that weapons are circulating in Arab society. We literally said that the weapons should be collected, and better now than later. Unfortunately, this weapon does not distinguish between bloods. At the end of the day, people are murdered and not one drop of blood should be shed from any human being because they are human beings.”
This video was retweeted numerous times Sunday night, implying that the joyous shooting on display had taken place in Umm al-Fahm in response to the murders in Hadera. It may be fake:
אום אל פאחם מפגן תמיכה במחבלים.
הימין שלא מתנצל של הצל pic.twitter.com/qaDru6MoKe
— ?? baron28 (@Baron28Baron286) March 27, 2022
Mayor Mahamid denied vigorously the rumors that his residents celebrated the murders as their brethren have done in the Gaza Strip. “I walked around, I walked toward the police station, there are no celebrations, it’s disinformation that the far right is trying to sow,” he said. “What’s more, if you check the WhatsApp groups, there’s only wall-to-wall condemnation. People, they have friends, they have people who are important to them, they also have a life they want to continue living, and for the sake of their children and their youngsters, they want to do good. So, what you have seen is disinformation that has nothing to do with Umm al-Fahm.”