Palestinians in Israel mark 12th anniversary of Intifada killings

Thousands of people take part in a rally in the northern Arab town of Sakhnin inside Israel on 1 October 2012, to mark the 12th anniversary of the October 2000 massacre in which Israeli forces shot dead 13 Palestinians. (Photo: AFP – Ahmad Gharabli)

Palestinians in Israel on Monday called for justice over the killing of 13 civilians by Israeli forces in 2000 on the 12th anniversary of the massacre.

At least 2,000 marched in the Galilee town of Sakhnin, carrying Palestinian flags and pictures of the 13 killed in October 2000 during the Second Palestinian Intifada which had just begun, an AFP journalist at the scene reported.

Rallies were also held in Umm el-Fahm, Nazareth, Kfar Kana and other Palestinian villages in the Galilee.

“Twelve years have passed and as far as we are concerned it is as if the incident happened yesterday,” a spokesman for the families of the victims Ibrahim Siam said, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Demonstrators chanted slogans and demanded that those responsible for the killings be indicted.

The Orr Commission, established following the deaths, found Israeli police incompetence and a history of discrimination against Palestinians in Israel.

Rights group Adalah represented the families of the victims before an official commission of inquiry, but in 2008 the attorney general issued a decision not to indict any of the Israeli police officers responsible for the deaths.

The killings took place during a series of Palestinian protests in northern Israel at the onset of the Second Intifada cultivated by decades of Israeli repression of Palestinians.

The uprising was triggered when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the holy Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque which was taken as a provocation.

Around 20 percent, or 1.3 million people, of Israel’s population are Palestinian.

They are largely the descendants of Palestinians that managed to remain during the 1948 war, when an estimated 700,000 were expelled from or fled their homes during fighting that would see the establishment of the state of Israel.

Rights groups say that Palestinians living in Israel face discrimination in employment, education and public funding within Israel.

The Israeli government estimates that just over 50 percent of Palestinian families in Israel live under the poverty line.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar, AFP)

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