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Palestinians commemorate anniversary of killing of 13 protesters in Israel

Oct. 1, 2016 2:08 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 2, 2016 7:37 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinians in Israel on Saturday commemorated the 16th anniversary of the killing of 13 civilians by Israeli forces in October 2000 during a series of Palestinian protests in northern Israel at the onset of the Second Intifada.

A statement released by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel condemned Israel’s continued oppression and discrimination of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

"Today, we reaffirm that Israel’s policy of depriving us of our right to live a natural life in our homeland and in the land of our ancestors will not be forgotten nor forgiven,” said Muhammad Baraka, head of the committee and former member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

The Palestinian citizens of Israel who were shot dead by Israeli police during the October 2000 events were killed as a result of the Israeli "mentality of war, occupation, and racism,” Baraka said, during visits organized by the committee to burial sites of the slain Palestinians.

Organizers of the commemoration arranged the parade, which first visited the grave of Rami Gharra in the village of Jet, followed by the grave of Ahmad Siyam in the village of Muawiya.

The parade was to continue Um al-Fahm to visit Muhammad Jabarin’s grave, and on to Nazareth to visit the shrines of Iyad Lawabna, Omar Akkawi, and Wisam Yazbek. In Kafr Kanna, the committee will visit the grave of Muhammad Khamaysi, before heading to Kafr Manda, the location of Ramiz Bushnaq’s burial.

The visits were to continue to Arraba, where Alaa Nassar and Asil Asila were buried, and finally to Sakhnin to visit the shrines of Imad Ghanayim and Walid Abu Salih.

Following the visits, a central demonstration is to be held in Sakhnin at 4 p.m. The Sakhnin Parents Association has also announced that educational institutions in the city will be closed on Saturday to commemorate the anniversary.

"Our message to the (Israeli government) as we mark this anniversary is that we will not remain silent towards the policies that target our people, wherever they may be. We will not remain silent towards the policy of racial discrimination that targets us, especially at this stage of escalating racial incitement against our people," the committee's statement concluded.

The Orr Commission, the state commission of inquiry established following the deaths, had recommended that several officers be dismissed from service or denied promotion, and found Israeli police incompetence and a history of discrimination against Palestinians in Israel.

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

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

They are largely the descendants of Palestinians who managed to remain during the 1948 war, when an estimated 700,000 Palestinians 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.
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