JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned acts of violence and murder in the Arab sector and pledged to allocate additional police manpower to fight against the phenomenon.
The statement issued on Sunday came a day after hundreds of Arab-Israelis demonstrated throughout the country and announced plans for further protests throughout the month.
In the statement, Netanyahu also called on the Arab-Israeli public to refrain from violence of any kind in the context of protest action.
“All of us need to act responsibility and cooperate in order to fight violence,” the statement said.
Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List of Arab political parties, said now Netanyahu must advance a plan of action to deal with the violence.
“It cannot be that 20 percent of the population needs to make a ruckus and block roads for the government to start to deal with the problem that has taken the lives of innocents for so many years already,” Odeh said in a statement.
Arab-Israeli communities held a general strike on Thursday to protest the uptick in violent crime and the lack of an effective police response. On Friday, protesters blocked roads, including major highways in the north of the country.
At least 71 Arab citizens of Israel have been killed as a result of gun violence and criminal activity since the beginning of this year, The Jerusalem Post reported. The murder rate among the country’s Arab population has increased by 20 percent in 2019 over the same period last year, according to Haaretz.