two years ago today

Today is the two year anniversary of the violence. Danny Rubeinstein writes in Ha'aretz the chronology of the events that began it:

On Sunday, October 1, 2000, the first two Israeli Arab demonstrators were killed by police gunfire in Jatt and Umm al-Fahm. Their deaths ignited even stormier riots and an even harsher police response. The results are well known.

Those terrible days constituted a watershed in the relations between Israel's Jewish majority and its Arab minority.

Three days earlier, on September 28, then opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. Dozens of Palestinians were wounded in clashes with the police.

The next day, Friday, a mass protest took place on the Temple Mount, and seven Palestinians were killed.

The level of rage of the Palestinian population, including the Israeli Arab community, jumped, and the next day, Saturday, September 30, 19 people were killed in a wave of riots and demonstrations throughout the territories. One of them was the boy Mohammed al-Dura, and pictures of his death in the arms of his father were broadcast or printed throughout the world almost immediately.

By the night between September 30 and October 1, the leaders of the Israeli Arab community knew that the events of the previous three days would not pass without large-scale protests.

Sunday, October 1 was a national holiday, as it fell on Rosh Hashanah, so most Israeli Arabs had the day off from work. The members of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, who met in an emergency session, knew that they did not have enough time to organize a few central protests in each region, as had been the custom on similar occasions in the past. They therefore had to make do with the default option: demonstrations in every village. Thus when the young people went out the next day to voice their protest, they did so spontaneously, with no control, no organization and no coordination with the police. The ensuing violent events were written on the wall.

But for all the importance of understanding the chain of specific events that led up to that day two years ago, it is also necessary to understand that the outbursts of October 2000 occurred against the background of deep processes that had been taking place within the Israeli Arab public for some time, and are still taking place today.

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