Arab High Follow-Up Committee demands opening of criminal investigation against Israeli political leaders for racial incitement

High Follow-Up Committee requests immediate and effective legal action against wave of violence, incitement, discrimination and racism targeted against the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel.

On 13 August 2014, Mr. Mohamad Zeidan, Chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens in Israel, the highest political body of elected Arab representatives and leaders of extra-parliamentary movements, in coordination with Adalah, sent an urgent letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and to the State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, requesting that they take immediate and effective legal action against the wave of violence, incitement, discrimination and racism targeted against the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel. In the letter, Mr. Zeidan called for the opening of criminal investigations of Israeli political leaders for making public racist statements, which encouraged the attacks and killings of Arabs over the past few weeks.

In the letter, Mr. Zeidan asked to open an investigation against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (the head of Yisrael Beiteinu) for his statements on Facebook, which were directed against Arab citizens who participated in solidarity demonstrations with hunger-striking Palestinian administrative detainees, and in demonstrations protesting the Israeli military incursion of the West Bank after the kidnapping of three settler youth. Lieberman states that the protestors should be treated as terrorists. In another statement, Lieberman also called for the boycott of Arab businesses that participated in the general strike against the Israeli military offensive on Gaza, which was announced by the High Follow-Up committee in July 2014.

In addition, Mr. Zeidan requested the opening of a criminal investigation against MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayet Hayehudi) who posted on Facebook a quote from an article which stated that "all (…) at war, usually, the people as a whole are the enemy, including the elderly and women, villages and cities, properties and infrastructure (…) and everyone who supports them morally and gives them respect, is a fighter on enemy lines and must be killed". Shaked added that the article, which was written 12 years ago, is "still valid today". Shaked also claimed on Facebook that Arab citizens burned a Jewish cemetery in Yaffa, despite having received numerous telephone calls that informed her the claim was false. Firefighters also confirmed that there was no fire or any attempt to burn the cemetery.  

Mr. Zeidan also requested a criminal investigation against MK Moshe Feiglin for calling for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as a "solution to Gaza".

The letter further stated: "Attacks, discrimination and racism against Arab citizens are clearly seen among Arab workers and students, whereby thousands of employees have been dismissed from their place of work for rightfully expressing their political opinions through social media. Such punitive measures seriously violate employment regulations. Similarly, Arab students faced punitive measures from their higher education institutions for expressing anti-war views." See Adalah press release in this regard.


The letter also added: "Police violence against Arab demonstrators protesting against the war on Gaza has been brutal, including against Arab leaders such as MK Mohammed Barakeh, who was assaulted during a demonstration in Nazareth, and MK Haneen Zoabi, who was handcuffed during a demonstration in Haifa."