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Rally held in Lod for Arab man shot dead in recent ethnic clashes

Relatives of Moussa Hassouna demand ‘justice’ after he was killed by Jewish men in the central city, who argue they acted in self-defense

Arab Israelis protest against the shooting death of Musa Hassouna outside the Central District Court in Lod on May 28, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Arab Israelis protest against the shooting death of Musa Hassouna outside the Central District Court in Lod on May 28, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The family of an Arab Israeli man killed during recent ethnic violence in Lod rallied outside a court in the central city Friday to protest the handling of the investigation into his death.

Over 100 people took part in the protest over the fatal shooting of Musa Hassouna earlier this month amid clashes in Lod. Police arrested four Jewish suspects after the shooting, who argued they acted in self-defense. They have all since been released on bail.

The suspects claim Hassouna was one of a gang of rioters who attacked them, while Hassouna’s relatives have said he was not involved and was standing some distance away from the unrest when he was shot.

Among those attending the rally were MKs Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi of the predominantly Arab Joint List party.

“If the murder victim were Jewish, [Public Security Minister] Amir Ohana would be the first to ensure [the perpetrator] is severely punished, but when the murder victim as an Arab citizen the murderers earn the full backing of the law enforcement and legal systems,” Odeh said.

He added: “Murder is murder? Not in the country of the nation-state law.” He was referencing the 2018 law that defined Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, legislation many Arabs have said was racist.

Arab Israelis protest against the shooting death of Musa Hassouna outside the Central District Court in Lod on May 28, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

An unnamed relative of Hassouna’s told the Haaretz daily that the family wanted “justice” for him.

“This is a person who loved life, not someone who wanted to die,” the relative said.

Another rally was being planned for Saturday evening.

Also Friday, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai visited a Jewish home in Lod that was firebombed overnight, saying he believed “it was a matter of time” until the suspects were caught.

No one was injured in the incident after the home’s occupants quickly doused the fire. They used fire extinguishers that had been acquired during the recent riots in the city for just such an event, according to the Ynet news site.

Since the start of the 11-day war between Israel and Gaza terror groups earlier this month, violence has broken out in so-called mixed cities, with Arab and Jewish mobs targeting often defenseless passersby, picking them out based on their ethnicities.

The violence has largely died down from the heights experienced during the fighting on Gaza, but a trickle of interethnic attacks has continued.

In the northern town of Binyamina on Thursday night, a Jewish mob allegedly dragged an Arab driver from his car and beat him with glass bottles before fleeing the scene, according to witness testimony. The driver was rushed to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center in moderate condition, where he was being treated for head injuries.

On Monday, police launched Operation Law and Order and have since arrested over 350 people on suspicion of involvement in the violent clashes between Jews and Arabs earlier this month.

So far 175 indictments have been filed, Shabtai said Thursday, adding that the operation would continue in the days ahead. Almost 2,000 suspects have been arrested since the Gaza war broke out on May 10, according to police.

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