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The October 2000 events is a term used to describe several days of protests in northern Israel that soon escalated into clashes between Arab citizens of Israel and the Israeli Police. The disturbances began after Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip demonstrated against Sharon's visit to the Elharam Elsharif, the Moslem holy site in Jerusalem]. In the solidarity and in memory of 1 Arab citizen killed at AlAqsa demonstrations, Arab citizens staged funerals which resulted with harsh crash by police forces, using snipers and special units over a period of several days at the beginning of October, clashes with the police and Israeli Jewish citizens, led to the deaths of 12 Arab citizens and one Palestinian from the Gaza Strip, who were shot and killed by the Israeli police,[1] and one Jewish citizen who was killed by a rock thought to have been thrown by an Arab citizen.

Israeli media outlets generally refer to the events as (אירועי אוקטובר 2000) "The October 2000 Riots" or "October 2000 Events"[2] while Arab citizens of Israel sometimes refer to it as (هبة أكتوبر) "The October Ignition, but most use the term, Intifadat El Aqsa (إنتفاضة الأقصى(." The Or Commission was established to investigate the root causes for the events of October 2000, and specifically, the police response to these events.



Longstanding tensions had been concealed by the Oslo accords, which marked an era of hope for Israel's Jews and Arabs alike.[3] However, by the 1999 Israeli elections voter participation among Arab citizens had dropped from 76% in the previous election to only 18%.[4] While Balad MK Azmi Bishara dropped out of the election for Prime Minister so Barak would have a better chance of winning,[5] the Arab Parties were not consulted when Barak put forward his coalition, which ultimately included several far-right politicians and no Arab representatives. This action left Israel's Arab population feeling angry and betrayed, with Arab society losing faith in the Israeli political system and feeling alienated from Israeli society.[6][7]

Prior Events

In September 2000, tensions between the police and Arab citizens were approaching a breaking point. On 12 September Israel Police Northern District Commander Alik Ron requested an investigation of Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh for inciting violence against police. At a meeting of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab citizens in Israel the next day in Kafar Manda, United Arab List's MK Abdulmalik Dehamshe declared that "We will beat or forcefully attack any policeman and we will break his hands if he comes to demolish an Arab house … we are on the verge of an Intifada among Israel’s Arabs following Alik Ron’s incitement."[8]

On 14 September, a total strike was held in Nazareth following the murder of Nabieh Nussier, 52, with the stated aim of protesting the "police’s incompetence in handling violence and crime."[8]

On 30 September, the High Follow-up Committee for Arab citizens in Israel - called for the Arab community to mount a general strike to protest the killings of five Palestinians by Israeli security forces in the Jerusalem clashes of the previous day, which many consider the first day of the al-Aqsa Intifada.[9]

Demonstrations from among the Arab communities throughout northern Israel followed, becoming more widespread after repeated airings of news footage showing the apparent death (attributed to Israeli forces) of 12 year-old Muhammad al-Durrah reported to have been caught during a crossfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militia.[10][11][12]



1 October

Arab citizen protests and civil-disobedience in solidarity with the Palestinians began to show signs of violence following the proclamation of a general strike by the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee to protest the deaths of rioters in Jerusalem the previous day.[9] Although there were clashes throughout northern Israel, the most intense violence occurred in Umm al-Fahm where two were killed, and in Baqa-Jat, in which one person was killed.

In a number of areas police came under gunfire, and demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails. An Egged bus was torched at Umm al-Fahm.[8] Muhammad Ahmad 'Eiq Al-Jabarin was fatally shot in the abdomen. In street battles that followed with police, 19-year old Ibrahim Sayyam Al-Jabarin sustained critical head injuries and died in the hospital the next day.[13]

In Baqa-Jat, Rami Khatem Gharra was shot in the eye by Border Policeman Rashed Murshid, and later died of his injuries. Murshid was firing rubber bullets at 15 metres towards the upper body, in contravention to that weapon's non-lethal operation directive to be used at longer range towards the lower body. Many others were wounded.[14]

2 October

The deadliest day of the events with six people killed in various incidents.

Asil Asala, 17, was killed after being shot at close range by Israeli police with live ammunition in Arraba. His father reported that he was sitting under an olive tree watching the demonstrations when police chased, surrounded and shot him.[15] Alaa Nassar, 18, was also shot in the chest in Arraba, and died the same day.[8]

Misleh Hussein Abu Jarad from Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip was killed and at least seven others were injured in Umm al-Fahm, after Commander of the Northern District, Alik Ron, gave orders to snipers to open fire with live-ammunition on stone-throwers in contravention with Police procedure.[14]

Walid Abdul-Menem Abu Saleh, 21, and Emad Farraj Ghanaym, 25, were killed in an industrial area in the Sakhnin area/Misgav Regional Council, when police fired live ammunition to disperse stone-throwers.[14] Walid was shot in the head and Emad in the heart.[1]

Demonstrators in Nazareth threw stones, burned tyres, looted and burned shops.[8] Iyad Lawabni, 26, was shot in the heart [2] and died the same day after a confrontation there with police. Approximately 100 others were hurt, including one woman who was seriously injured after getting shot. Dozens of residents of the Arab suburb of Mashhad approaching a Jewish neighbourhood of Upper Nazareth smashed house and car windows and were ultimately driven away by police.

Traffic was blocked with burning tyres on Route 65, a main artery connecting northern and central Israel. A Jewish man was attacked and pulled from his car by local youth, which they then torched. Three banks in Baqa al-Gharbiyye were set on fire.[8]

3 October

Ramez Bushnak, 24, from Kafar Manda, was shot in the head and died the same day during a confrontation with police, who explicitly denied claims that he was shot from close range. Dozens of residents clashed with police blocking the way to Jewish neighbourhoods in Misgav. Mohammed Khameisi, 19, from Kafar Kanna [3] was wounded in the leg and died the following day, though the nature and cause of his wound is debated. The funerals of those killed in previous days became focal points of renewed clashes.[8]

Extensive forest fires which Israel Police believed were the result of Arab arsonists caused the evacuations of some residents.[8]

4-6 October

Following the meeting between Barak and the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, a general calm reigned with only minimal violence, including on 6 October, on which a "Palestinian day of rage" had been announced.

On 5 October, hundreds of Arab residents of Jaffa burned tires, threw rocks, and beat some reporters.[8]

On 6 October mourners in Kafar Kanna at a funeral of one of those killed in clashes stoned and moderately injured a Jewish motorist from Tiberias. The next day, hundreds of Jewish youth in Tiberias burned tyres, attacked a mosque, and attempted to assault Arabs.[8] Dozens of haredi youth stoned Arab traffic in Jerusalem and attacked Palestinian labourers, who were subsequently rescued by police.[8]

7 October

Although a mostly calm day, clashes broke out following the abduction of three Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah fighters, including for the first time clashes between Arab and Jewish civilians, and the first Jewish citizen killed.

Jewish and Arab youth threw rocks at each other near a shopping mall on the border between Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods in Nazareth. Arab traffic in Upper Nazareth was stoned.[8]

A Jewish citizen, Bachor Jann from Rishon LeZion, was killed after being hit by a stone thought to have been thrown by those taking part in the protests in Jisr az-Zarqa while driving on the Haifa-Tel Aviv freeway.[16] A scuffle at an Or Aqiva shopping mall between Jewish and Arab citizens resulted in an attack on the responding police and the throwing of a Molotov cocktail.[8]

8 October

Thousands of Jewish citizens participated in violent acts against Arabs. Jewish civilians from Upper Nazareth head down the hill to Nazareth where they attacked Arab civilians. Police used tear gas and live ammunition against Arab citizens.[8]

Wissam Yazbak, 24, and Omar Mohammad Akkawi, 52, were killed, and at least five others were wounded, after Commander of the Valleys region, Moshe Waldman, ordered Israel Police to use live ammunition at the Canyon Junction between the Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods of Nazareth.[14] Wissam, 25, sustained a fatal head wound.[15]

Three Arab owned apartments were torched in a Mizrahi neighbourhood of Tel-Aviv, and hundreds of residents clashed with police. Demonstrators forced two Arab employees out of a restaurant and burned it, as well as two Arab owned cars parked in front of it.[8]

9 October

Events focused around Jewish civilian disorder, though Arab civilians had not yet ceased their actions. Attempts at achieving calm by and large did not succeed.[17]

Hundreds of Jews broke windows in a Nazareth shopping mall and set fire to two cars. The mayor of Karmiel was attacked when he tried to calm a thousand rampaging Jewish citizens there. Jewish citizens damaged Arab property in Bat Yam and Petah Tikva.[8]

A group of young Jews stormed and desecrated a Muslim sanctuary in the heart of the Arab old city of Acre.[18]

The newspaper Al-Ittihad reported that in the Jewish town of Rosh HaAyin, four men stabbed an Arab worker on his way to his employment in a local supermarket. Two other Arabs were stabbed "in a fight with Jewish rioters in a Tel Aviv suburb."[18] In the mixed neighbourhood of Jaffa, a mosque was torched and attempts were made to burn Jewish apartments and two synagogues. In Ramle, a synagogue was nearly burned down and traffic was stoned and firebombed, while in Lod, a Jewish citizen was shot, a school was burned down, and attempts were made to set a police station on fire.[17]

In Nazareth, a crowd of mourners from Yazbak and Akkawi's funeral approached the police station and threw rocks and firebombs at it, despite the police's decision to keep all officers inside and out of sight until quiet set in. The police responded with tear-gas; when the stone-throwing continued, the assistant-mayor and two Arab Knesset members on the scene guaranteed a cessation in exchange for a police retreat, which they did. Arab youths also vandalised traffic signals at the Canyon Junction.[17]

Several hundred youth from Umm-al-Fahm stoned dozens of passing vehicles on Highway 65 and vandalised utility poles. The assistant mayor unsuccessfully attempted to stop the youths per agreements with police to avoid their involvement. The police still decided to keep distance, and the Umm-al-Fahm municipality finally cleared debris from the road allowing it to be reopened.[17]

10 October

Calm finally held, with a sharp reduction in violent clashes.


The Arab media organization I'lam found that media coverage of the events of October 2000 created an atmosphere of war inside Israel, painting Arab citizens as violent rioters displaying their disloyalty to the State through riots; I'lam and other Arab organizations say that overall Arab citizens engaged in peaceful protest during October 2000, and that the entire population was treated in blanket fashion as a rioting 'fifth column.'[19]

Along with the Arab Association for Human Rights, Adalah,[20] Mossawa,[21] I'lam, and other Arab NGOs in Israel, have cited the “deep rooted frustration [of Arabs] at their own status as second class Israeli citizens,” as an underlying factor accounting for the widespread involvement of Arab citizens of Israel in the protests.[22] The Arab youth organization Baladna was formed partially in response to the events of October 2000.[23]

Dr. Marwan Dwairy noted that: "The protest of October 2000 is considered an important landmark in the narrative of the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, from the establishment of the state until the present day. Numerous other landmarks predated October 2000, the most important of which being 'Land Day' in 1976."[24]

See also


  1. ^ Yair Ettinger. "Extremism isn't Growing, but Fear is". Ha'aretz. Retrieved 2006-02-20.  
  2. ^ Sharon Roffe-Ofir (2006-11-20). "Families of October 2000 victims reject compensation". YNet.,7340,L-3330476,00.html.  
  3. ^ "Identity Crisis: Israel and it's Arab Citizens". International Crisis Group. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 2007-12-15.  
  4. ^ Roni Ben Efrat (March-April 2001). "The Blank Ballot and the Boycott". Challenge: A Jerusalem Magazine on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Retrieved 2007-12-15.  
  5. ^ Israeli Elections -- May 17, 1999 on PBS
  6. ^ Bar-Yaacov, Naomi (1999-07-05). "Arab Israeli parties feel betrayed by Barak". Via Lexis Nexis (Agence France Presse). Retrieved 2007-04-03.  
  7. ^ Rekhess, Elie. The Arab Vote. ([ PDF]) Presentation at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 24 January 2003
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The Or Inquiry - Summary of Events". Haaretz.  
  9. ^ a b Graham Usher (12 - 18 October 2000). "Uprising Wipes Off Green Line". al-Ahram Weekly.  
  10. ^ 'Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura?' by James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly
  11. ^ “Three Bullets and a Dead Child” by Esther Schapira (German TV)
  12. ^ 'The mysteries and passions of an iconic video frame' by Doreen Carvajal, International Herald Tribune, Monday, February 7, 2005.
    - "The footage of the father and son under attack lasts several minutes but does not clearly show the child's death."
  13. ^ "Weekly Review of the Arab Press in Israel". Arab Human Rights Association. 26 September - Monday 2 October 2000.  
  14. ^ a b c d "October 2000: Briefing on Criminal Responsibility". Adalah. September 18, 2005.  
  15. ^ a b Aaron Tahauko (September 15, 2005). ""They're Killing Us All Over Again"". Arabs Against Discrimination.  
  16. ^ The Other Victims by Vered Levy-Barzilai on Haaretz
  17. ^ a b c d Official Or Report Timeline (Hebrew)
  18. ^ a b "Weekly Review of the Arab Press in Israel". 10 - Monday 16 October 2000.  
  19. ^ "The Or Commission: A Media Report," I'lam, August 2003 (Hebrew and Arabic)
  20. ^ Dr. Marwan Dwairy."October 2000: Defined Goals and New Mechanisms"; Adalah's Newsletter, Volume 19, October 2005
  21. ^ Mossawa on the 41st killing
  22. ^ Discrimination Diary (October 25, 2000). "Delusions of Coexistence in the Galilee: The aftermath of the events of October among the Arab community in Israel". Arab Human Rights Association.  
  23. ^ About Baladna
  24. ^ Dr. Marwan Dwairy (October 2004, Volume 6). "Introductory Remarks" (PDF). Adalah's Newsletter.  

External links


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