Arab students call for ‘third intifada’ as riots spread

Anti-government rallies planned throughout the country, 3 arrested in continuing anti-police protests in Kafr Kanna

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Arab youth seen waving the Palestinian flag and throwing rocks towards Border Police at the entrance to the Arab village Kafr Kanna, November 8, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Arab youth seen waving the Palestinian flag and throwing rocks towards Border Police at the entrance to the Arab village Kafr Kanna, November 8, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Arab Israeli university students launched protests against the killing of a 22-year-old Kafr Kanna man over the weekend by Israeli police and called for a third intifada on Sunday, as violent riots in the Galilee town persisted for a second day.

In Kafr Kanna, some 30 youths burned tires, according to police, while dozens of others set trashcans on fire, damaged traffic signs, and hurled stones at Israeli officers. Police closed off the entrance to the town and later dispersed the demonstration. Three men in their 20s were detained.

Members of a Channel 1 crew seeking to enter the embattled town were chased away by stone-throwers who pummeled their car with rocks.

Dozens of students rallied outside of Tel Aviv University against what they termed “the desecration of the holy sites,” in reference to recent tensions at the Temple Mount, according to Israel Radio. Protesters held aloft Palestinian flags, and signs reading “Israel, state of terror,” and “Shahid, rest in peace,” using the Arabic word for “martyr” for the slain Kheir Hamdan, who was shot to death by police Friday after approaching a patrol car with a knife and then running away.

Over at Haifa University, some 120 demonstrators held a similar protest, during which they called for a “third intifada.”

جامعة تل-أبيب الآن …

Posted by Mahmud Awad on Sunday, November 9, 2014

Additional rallies were scheduled throughout the day in Arab Israeli areas, including at Umm el-Fahem, Kafr Qasim, and Nazareth.

Nazareth mayor Ali Salam called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to launch an investigation into the killing of Hamdan.

Anticipating the violence in the aftermath of the Kafr Kanna incident, the Israel Police had raised its security alert to the second-highest level nationwide.

Overnight Saturday-Sunday, Israeli Arabs removed an Israeli flag from a police station near Misgav in the north, Army Radio reported, replacing it with a Palestinian flag. Police officers removed the Palestinian banner and raised the Israeli flag over the station a short while later and launched an investigation into the incident.

Riots near the northern Arab town of Taibe forced the closure of Route 444 on Sunday morning until police arrived to disperse the crowds.

Protesters burned tires and police arrested an 18-year-old suspected of involvement in the disturbances as police officers brought the riot to an end. The road was reopened a short while later.

In a separate incident, a Nazi swastika symbol was spray-painted Sunday morning on a bus stop at a junction in the northern Arab town of Fureidis, near Haifa.

Thousands of Arab protesters massed Saturday afternoon and evening along the main street of Kafr Kanna, protesting Hamdan’s death. The town mayor called the incident “murder in cold blood.”

Arab Israeli umbrella groups called a general strike on Sunday in protest of the shooting, and Israel Radio reported that further demonstrations were expected in the afternoon. In line with the strike, many Arab schools and colleges were shuttered.

Businesses closed en masse in Sakhnin, Shfaram, Majd al-Krum, Tamra and Arabe. Partial closures were also evident in other towns. In the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Acre, most Arab businesses opened normally.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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