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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Israeli Arabs volunteer for the Civil Guard

On the same day that three Israelis were killed and more than 30 were wounded by a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market, a report was released by the police about Israeli Arabs' volunteering for the Civil Guard.
In the northern police district, where 11 Arab demonstrators were shot dead by police in October 2000, the increase in volunteers, from 700 to 4,400, was most impressive. The volunteers, some in police uniforms and others in their civilian clothes, patrol Jewish and Arab communities and help the police in community affairs where the difficulties are the greatest.

This is an amazing achievement, first and foremost for the police. It is true that police attitudes toward Arab citizens still suffer from many flaws and failures, including outright harassment, according to the Mossawa Center for Arab Rights in Israel.

However, based on much evidence from the local authorities and Arab citizenry, the volunteers' work succeeds in easing negotiations between the citizenry and police. Therefore, at least some of the wall of alienation and hostility that rose dramatically after the October 2000 events has been cracked, and a new foundation has been formed for welcome cooperation between Jews and Arabs.