Violence in Northern Israel May Signal Spread of Intifada

A recent wave of violent incidents in northern Israel has raised fears that the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may be spreading to Israel’s 700,000 Arab citizens.

An Egged bus was stoned Saturday night passing through Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel. Three passengers were slightly hurt.

A police van that rushed to the scene was reportedly pelted with stones and bottles.

A 14-year-old Jewish boy from Nahariya, Armand Swissa, was stabbed in a brawl between fans of a Jewish and an Arab soccer team after a match Saturday.

The youngster was hospitalized and reported in fair condition. Police arrested 51 rioters, including the suspected knife-wielder.

Violence involving soccer fans is a common phenomenon, and this incident may or may not have had political motivations.

But Danny Tabib, the police commander in the northern region, said Sunday that the incidence of attacks on Jewish targets near Arab population centers in the region has increased in the past few months.

There have been 10 arrests in the last few days, and more are expected.

Last week, two firebombs were reportedly thrown at a car on the main road to the Jewish town of Migdal Ha’emek, not far from Nazareth.

Israeli Arabs are also suspected of setting fields and cars on fire in recent days.

JEWISH PATIENCE ‘RUNNING OUT’

Police said they arrested a gang of eight from the Arab village of Jatt, near Hadera, who confessed to throwing a gasoline bomb during a basketball game, stoning cars and raising the Palestinian flag.

Incidents such as the bus stoning could lead to retaliatory acts against Arabs, the way some Jewish settlers in the West Bank often take the law into their own hands.

Mayor Shaul Amor of Migdal Ha’emek, where the Egged bus was headed, warned Sunday that if violence against Jewish vehicles does not stop, it will be difficult to prevent a Jewish reaction.

Amor advised the Hadash Communist party, which governs Nazareth, to control its people, “because the patience of Jewish residents is running out as the creeping intifada reaches their homes.”

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