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Hamas claims 'Zionist occupation' responsible for Arab crime wave in Israel

Ismail Haniyeh, chairman of the Political Bureau of the Hamas group, delivers a speech during a rally at the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon. (Photo: Marwan Naamani/dpa - Alle Rechte vorbehalten)

The head of the terror group Hamas blamed the “Zionist occupation” for the ongoing lethal crime wave plaguing the Arab sector in Israeli society.

“We regard the Zionist occupation as the responsible party for the blood spilled and the murders running wild inside the lands of 1948,” said Hamas chief, Ismail Haniyeh, according to an official statement released by his office.

So far this year, 166 Arab Israelis have been killed, making 2023 the most lethal year in the Arab Israeli community.

Haniyeh accused Israel of trying to create divisions between Arab Israelis and the Arab population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“The security arms of the Zionist enemy play a dangerous game in trying to embroil our people in another struggle, intended to make them forget their religious and historical ties to the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank, and in exile,” he claimed.

However, Haniyeh's claim has been disputed in poll after poll, revealing that the majority of Arab Israelis prefer living in Israel than under the Palestinian Authority, which is known for its corruption and harsh living conditions, particularly in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The growing crime wave in Israel's Arab communities has become a strategic national threat to Israeli society. The focus of anti-government protests has recently shifted to the escalating deadly violence in the Arab sector.

The mayor of the Tira Municipality, Mamoun Abed Elhi recently accused Netanyahu's government of abandoning the Arab Israeli minority. Tira's director-general, Abd al-Rahman Kashua, was assassinated in a shooting incident last month.

“Blood is flowing in our streets, and what do the governments of Israel do? Dismantle the police, halt budgets that are supposed to go toward education,” Elhi told anti-government protesters in Tel Aviv.

The Arab mayor referred to Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who decided recently to temporarily withhold large funds earmarked for the Arab Israeli community, citing allegations of fund mishandling. However, Smotrich later reversed his decision after calling for greater financial transparency in the Arab-Israeli sector.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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