Israeli Arabs riot as authorities pull down illegal building

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Insisting that they need not comply with the laws of the land, dozens of Israeli Arabs rioted Tuesday night as Israeli authorities demolished an illegally built structure in the northern town of Umm el-Fahm.

The owners of the building, which was being used as a market, received repeated written warnings that they had built it without proper permits, and were thus at risk of facing a demolition order. The warnings went unheeded, and so Interior Ministry bulldozers, backed by hundreds of police officers, moved in.

As the authorities arrived, dozens of residents parked their cars in front of the illegal building, and some tried to use their bodies to prevent the bulldozers from approaching.

When it became clear that they could not prevent the demolition itself, dozens of local Arab youth massed along nearby Highway 65, a major thoroughfare through northern Israel, and began hurling stones at passing vehicles.

Two people were arrested and another 17 were detained for questioning.

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