Published on Tuesday, September 2, 2003 by the Boston Globe
Israeli Panel Cites Anti-Arab Bias
Ties Citizens' Deaths to Country's Attitude
by Charles A. Radin
JERUSALEM -- A high-level commission that investigated the police killing of 13 Arabs at the beginning of the current, three-year armed struggle between Palestinians and Israelis ruled yesterday that the root cause of the deaths was systematic discrimination by Israel against its Arab population.
This long-term, pervasive discrimination drove Arab residents of Israel to desperate rage, the commission said, and caused police to react with undue force when the Arabs rioted in sympathy with the Palestinians of the occupied territories in early October 2000.
The unanimous findings of the so-called Or Commission -- whose members were Supreme Court Justice Theodor Or, Nazareth District Judge Hashim Khatib, and Shimon Shamir, a veteran Israeli envoy to the Arab world -- marked the first time a major institution of the Israeli state has declared the existence of widespread, institutionalized prejudice against the country's Arab minority. About 18 percent of Israel's residents are Arabs.
The commission also found that top political and police officials were derelict in their duties to prevent the violence, contain it once it was started, and restrain the use of lethal force by officers in the field.