Thousands of Palestinians have staged a protest rally in northern Israel to show their anger at Tel Aviv’s killings of Palestinians as well as its home demolition campaign in the Negev desert.
The protesters briefly blocked Highway 65 near the town of Arara in the Wadi Ara region, carrying signs with slogans that called Gilad Erdan, the regime’s public security minister, a criminal.
Israeli police, however, intervened and attacked the gathering with sponge-tipped bullets and stun grenades, injuring seven protesters.
The demonstrators were angry at the demolitions on Wednesday of a number of homes and structures belonging to Bedouin Palestinians in the Umm al-Hiran, a Bedouin village in the Negev desert. Tel Aviv claims the structures had been built without Israeli permits.
Prior to the demolitions, Israeli forces also shot Yacoub Abu al-Qian, a local math teacher, to death in the area.
Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List coalition that represents parties led by Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset, told reporters that the protest was held “to show loyalty to the martyr Abu al-Qian” and condemn Israel’s killings of Palestinians.
Israeli police claim Abu al-Qian, whose home was among those demolished by Israeli forces, had carried out a car-ramming attack against Tel Aviv’s forces.
However, numerous witness accounts and investigations by Israeli media and NGOs suggest that police opened fire on the man while he was driving normally, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and hit several people. An Israeli officer was killed and several others were wounded in the incident.