Palestinian Israelis demand police minister quit after shooting death
JERUSALEM - Israeli Arabs rallied in Jerusalem on Monday demanding the minister in charge of police quit after a Bedouin man was shot dead by officers in disputed circumstances.
About 300 protesters arrived outside parliament after driving in go-slow convoys from the north and south of the country, disrupting traffic on main highways, police said.
With riot police on horseback on standby several hundred yards (metres) away and a police helicopter overhead, they chanted: "Erdan resign, we won't tolerate you anymore."
They were referring to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is responsible for the police.
Yacoub Abu al-Qiyan, 50, was killed last Wednesday when police staged a pre-dawn raid on the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to demolish several homes.
Police said he was shot as he deliberately drove at officers, killing a policeman.
A police statement shortly after the incident described him as a "terrorist from the Islamic Movement" and suggested he may have had ties to the Islamic State jihadist group.
Residents strongly denied the allegation, calling him a respected teacher and saying that he was shot before losing control of the car.
"He is a victim, he is a martyr, he was an educator. He was not IS, not a terrorist," Arab Israeli MP Ahmed Tibi, holding a black flag of mourning, told the protesters.
"We demand to know who gave the order, who brought live ammunition to Umm al-Hiran," he added.
As the protest dispersed peacefully, the nearby supreme court was hearing a petition from the dead man's family for police to release his body for burial.
Government attorneys, quoted in a court statement, said police were prepared to hand over the corpse subject to several conditions to prevent a potentially violent protest breaking out at the funeral.
Among them were that police should determine the time of the burial and the number of mourners, that there should be no political speeches or use of loudspeakers and that the family deposit a bond to ensure compliance.
Tibi said the terms were unacceptable.
"We want to bury him without any condition, it is a very simple right," the deputy said.
Arab Israelis -- including some 300,000 Bedouins -- are descendants of Palestinians who remained after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
They now make up around 17.5 percent of the Jewish state's population and say the state systematically discriminates against them.