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Sunday, March 22, 2009

'1000% rise in Jew attacks on Arabs'

Sun, 22 Mar 2009 01:08:04 GMT | PreesTV

A research by an Arab human rights group shows a ten-fold increase in Jewish attacks on the Arab population in Israel over the last year.

On Saturday, the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens reported the 1000 percent rise in 2008 crime rates compared with 2007, citing the recent Israeli war on Gaza and the Israeli elections in February as a reason, said Israeli website Ynetnews.

The report said that the Israeli-occupied western Jerusalem (Al-Quds) in the West Bank witnessed the highest rate of racist crimes with 32 counts of anti-Arab violence. Akka [Akko] in northern Israel came second with 22 instances of such crimes.

It also noted that 42 Arab citizens had been killed since 2000 at the hands of the Israeli security forces.

"What we are witnessing is a moral collapse, and it's time to shout out against racism," said Jafar Farah, the head of the group adding that "the data is especially worrying in regards to civilian violence."

The report held inflammatory statements by senior Israeli officials such as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef responsible for the rise in the attacks.
Mossawa decries Tel Aviv's decimation of the Palestinian population, embodied by December 27-January 18 military operations in the Gaza Strip which claimed more than 1,300 Palestinians. The body also regrets Israel's "constant political de-legitimization and marginalization of Arab citizens."

The group holds senior Israeli officials such as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the founder and spiritual leader of Shas party, and Avigdor Lieberman, the chairman of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu, responsible for spreading anti-Arab sentiment.

Yosef is known for making controversial remarks such as referring to Arabs as 'snakes'. "The Arabs are like snakes, and you should destroy the head of a snake," the Rabbi, himself of Arab descent, is famed to have said.

Lieberman also insists that Arabs residing in the occupied territories should prove their loyalty to Tel Aviv. Mossawa contends that "Lieberman's threats and incitement against Arabs ... are paving the way for a racist Israeli society."

Blaming such controversial stances for the surge in racist crimes, Mossawa's director said the Saturday report "definitely" proves that an "extremist message" by an Israeli parliamentarian "permeates and leads to the involvement of more and more citizens."

"These attacks are not the hand of fate, but a direct result of incitement against the Arab citizens of this country by religious, public, and elected officials," the report concluded.

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