After weekend rioting in Wadi Ara, the largely Arab area in northern Israel where three people on a bus were injured by rock-throwing Arabs, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman urged Israelis to “boycott Umm el-Faham,” the large Israeli Arab town where numerous riots and demonstrations have taken place in recent years.
Hundreds of Arabs demonstrated over the weekend on Road 65, which runs through Wadi Ara, throwing rocks and stones at vehicles. Rioters targeted a bus in a rock attack, injuring a driver and two passengers. Rioters also blocked the road for several minutes. Smaller demonstrations took place in the Israeli Arab communities of Majd al-Krum, Taibe, Kafr Kana and in Haifa. United Arab List MKs participated in several of the demonstrations.
Liberman has long sought to separate Wadi Ara from Israel proper. Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu has promoted a peace plan that would see Israel annex Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron in exchange for a land swap that would see Umm el-Faham and other Wadi Ara communities, which border Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, transferred to the PA. The plan would not entail removing anyone from their homes, but rather moving the security fence that runs east of Umm el-Faham and other communities to the west side of town.
Referring to the funerals of three terrorists who carried out the attack in the Old City in July and engaged in a shootout with police on Har HaBayis, Liberman told Army Radio that “I saw the funeral and I heard them praise the terrorists in Umm el-Faham. I have seen many Palestinian flags there, but I never saw an Israeli flag. With that level of hate and incitement, they belong under the control of Ramallah. I call on all Israeli citizens to boycott them. Do not enter their stores, do not buy from them. We must make them feel unwanted.”
On Sunday, Liberman said that he hoped the violence that had erupted in Palestinian protests was abating.
“Our hope is that everything is calming down and that we are returning to normal life without riots and without violence,” Liberman told Army Radio.