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Hundreds protest arrest of alleged Arab spies
Sharon Roffe-Ofir
Ynet News: 05.10.10,7340,L-3887729,00.html

Some 300 people rally in Haifa against arrest of Omar Said, Ameer Makhoul. Arab Knesset member vows to fight `political ghetto`

Some 300 people rallied in Haifa Monday evening in protest of the arrest of well-known Arab figures Omar Said and Ameer Makhoul on suspicion of contacting a Hezbollah agent.

Several Arab Knesset members attended the rally as well, including Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka, Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh and MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta`al).

`We won`t let (Israel) turn our political activities into security offenses,` said Zahalka.

`This is bigger than Omar and Ameer this is an attempt to delimit us in a political ghetto, but we will breach it. There are mass demonstrations planned,` he said.

The Israeli government, MK El-Sana added, `Cannot declare indirect negotiations with the Palestinian on one hand, and an outright war on Israeli Arabs on the other.

`Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin should not be the one handling the government`s policy regarding the Arab minority. It`s not a crime to be a Palestinian in Israel,` he said.

The two suspects` wives, Janan Abdu Makhoul and Ina`em Said, told Ynet that they were certain their husbands were strong enough to deal with the charges.

The Mossawa Centre, an advocacy group for Israeli Arabs, has issued a call for all Arab rights groups to protest the arrest.

Makhoul`s brother, former Knesset Member Issam Makhoul, said that `the way he was arrested two weeks after the warrant was issued says something about the drama (authorities) wanted to create, and proves our concern, that by issuing a gag order and barring him from seeing his attorney, they wanted to create an alibi and trample democracy.

`Ameer is strong,` he continued. `He will face this onslaught head-on, and at the end of the day, those facing justice would be the authorities, which chose to act this way not him.`

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