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Mounting Arab Attacks in Israel Are Cause of Concern for Police

March 3, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli police are concerned by a growing number of attacks on traffic in Wadi Ara, the area between Hadera and Afula in central Israel, mostly populated with Arab villages.

Police said Wednesday they have increased their patrols in the area, and that serious measures would be required to prevent further attacks.

Two Molotov cocktails were thrown Tuesday evening at an Egged bus at the northern entrance of the Israeli Arab village of Baka al-Gharbiya. The bus was loaded with Arab residents of the village. No one was hurt, and no damage was caused. Earlier this week, stones were thrown at an Egged bus passing the nearby village of Jatt.

Police on Wednesday detained three residents of Baka al-Gharbiya suspected of the Molotov cocktail attack. Two of them are minors. A 35-year-old teacher from Jatt was arrested on suspicion of stoning the bus.

Police officers said the attacks were yet another indication of the growing radicalization of Israeli Arabs, and of attempts to “import” the uprising in the territories to the Arab villages in Israel proper.

But Samir Darwish, the mayor of Baka al-Gharbiya, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Wednesday he believed the Molotov cocktail attack was a single incident that did not reflect a general mood in the village.


The atmosphere in the village is indeed one of confusion. Local residents said that although they totally identified with the uprising in the territories, they were far from engaging in terrorist activities.

Baka al-Gharbiya was once a symbol of the integration of Israel’s Arabs in the Jewish state. The village lies on a crossroads between West Bank villages and the Arab villages in Israel proper. It is on the main road from Hadera to Petach Tikva.

As such it has served as center of Jewish-Arab economic and social activities. Jewish students often have visited the village to get better acquainted with the Arab population.

“I would not advise to hold such visits now,” said Idris Muwassi, secretary of the youth division of the Mapam party.

“For 40 years I have felt at home in the Jewish streets,” said Mahmoud Mansour, the Arab owner of a cement plant. “Now, for the first time, Jewish friends have stopped contacting me, even by phone. They are afraid.

“My 7-year-old son has told me, after seeing clashes between soldiers and Palestinians, that he does not want to see any of our Jewish friends. This is really shocking,” he said.

But another resident of Baka al-Gharbiya had a different opinion. “Now, more than ever in the past, is the time to welcome Jewish visitors. We must prove that Jews and Arabs can live together in peace,” he said.

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