Police reportedly covered up overnight Saturday-Sunday a mural in the city of Umm al-Fahm that honored residents of the town who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City in 2017 that killed two police officers.
The move came after the Arab Israeli town’s mayor, Samir Mahamid, told police the wall on which the mural was painted was privately owned and therefore municipal authorities could not take action against it, according to the Haaretz newspaper.
“I received legal advice that said it is a private wall,” Mahamid told Haaretz. “Therefore I explained to the police that I don’t have the authority to act, and asked them to decide what to do.”
According to the report, police asked the owners of the wall to clean up the mural, and they refused.
The mural was painted in May amid deadly violence between the Arab and Jewish communities that accompanied fighting between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Haaretz said.
It memorializes three Arab Israeli men — Mohammed Ahmed Mafdal Jabrin, Mohammed Hamed Abed Eltif Jabrin and Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Jabrin — who on July 14, 2017, opened fire at policemen Haiel Sitawe, 30, and Kamil Shnaan, 22, at an entrances to the Temple Mount, killing them. Other officers at the scene returned fire, killing the three attackers.
The mural depicts the perpetrators of the attack along with two other men, one of whom was identified as Ahmed Muhammad Mahameed, who attempted to stab a policeman in Jerusalem in 2018 and was shot dead. According to Haaretz, the other is Muhammad Mahameed Kiwan, 17, who was killed by police during the May violence.
Under the men’s faces, the artist wrote, “Tomorrow’s smile will be wider,” a quote from a Facebook post published by two of the Temple Mount attackers hours before the killings.
Kamil Shnaan’s father, former Labor MK Shachiv Shnaan, told Kan news on Saturday that he was outraged to learn of the mural honoring his son’s murderers and had appealed to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to ensure that it was removed.
“It is inconceivable that we lose sovereignty in the country,” he said. “I demand that this wall be eliminated.”
אום אל פאחם: קיר הנצחה לרוצחי השוטרים כמיל שנאן והאיל סתאוי בהר הבית.
בנט יכול היה לחנוך אותו. pic.twitter.com/mjZvpQI93I
— Orgad Ginsburg (@GinsburgOrgad) October 1, 2021
On Thursday, Bennett postponed a trip to the town to promote vaccination planned for Friday morning. The coalition’s Ra’am party claimed that the decision was due to the anniversary of the October 2000 riots in which 13 Arab Israeli demonstrators were killed in clashes with police at the start of the Second Intifada.
Bennett denied that this was the cause, saying that the visit was canceled due to planned demonstrations and security considerations, and Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas himself subsequently issued a Hebrew statement refuting the claim of his party.
Two Arab members of the coalition were heckled Saturday while attending a memorial event for those killed in the October 2000 events.
Activists at the Nazareth memorial shouted at Iman Khatib-Yasin (Ra’am) and Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi (Meretz) that they should be “ashamed” of being part of the government, while some accused them of being “Zionists,” Channel 12 reported.
עימות באנדרטה בנצרת,פעילים תקפו מילולית חברי הכנסת מטעם הרשימה הערבית המאוחדת וגם ממרצ:"בושה לכם שאתם בממשלה הזאת,אתם ציונים". pic.twitter.com/r0DZ695UrT
— |فرات نصار|פוראת נסאר|FURAT NASSAR (@nassar_furat) October 2, 2021