There was a tense calm over Galilee in northern Israel on Wednesday (31 March) as the Arab population buried four of the demonstrators killed by security forces there the previous day (30 March).
CU Salim el-Kasim speaking
MV Sahknin - funeral mourners around coffin being carried out of house
MV OF Funeral procession (3 shots)
GV Crowd on street corner
CU Peres answering question
EL-KASIM: "It is the right of the population to be (indistinct) but this and the border escort can be part of the police and some army units attacked our people and the provocation (indistinct) was the result that some people were injured and killed. It was a brutal attack. Of course the people en masse (indistinct) their fight for their rights."
REPORTER: "Some Israeli Arab leaders have claimed that the heavy security yesterday provoked the riots. How do you answer that?"
MR. PERES: "I do not believe so. I believe that usually this is happening with all riots. It is organised, initiated and guided by a tiny little minority in given places. The real problem is how to deal with this minority. My impression is that the people here and in some other places on the West Bank is that basically all people are just interested in their towns being normalised and relationship and goodwill. They understand this doesn't solve any serious political purpose yet it affects badly, badly their daily life."
Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has accused Israeli communists of causing riots in Galilee on Tuesday during which six Israeli Arabs were killed.
In Nazareth, Communist spokesman Salim el-Kasim spoke to newsmen.
In the village of Sahknin in Galilee the Arab population buried three of those killed. The riots started when a general strike was called to protest against the appropriation of Arab lands in Galilee for re-development.
When rioting broke out Israeli security forces opened fire, killing six and injuring 30 civilians. 38 police and troops were also injured and 300 people were arrested.
Although feelings ran high during the funerals there were no incidents.
After the riots Defence Minister Shimon Peres toured the area.
Initials CL/1740 CL/1750 This film is serviced with parts of interviews with Mr. Salim el-Kasim and Defence minister Shimon Peres. Transcripts of both follow: Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: There was a tense calm over Galilee in northern Israel on Wednesday (31 March) as the Arab population buried four of the demonstrators killed by security forces there the previous day (30 March).
Three of the victims were buried in the village of Sahknin and one in Arabeh. Although there were emotional scenes at the funerals there were no incidents.
Six Arabs were Killed, 30 civilians and 30 police and troops wounded and 300 people arrested in the worst riots seen in Galilee since Israel was created 28 years ago.
The rioting broke out following a call for a general strike to protest against the appropriation of Arab lands in Galilee for a development project. But Reuters quoted the Jerusalem Post newspaper as saying the disturbances reflected general dissatisfaction at Israeli Arabs' rate of progress in the past 28 years.
However the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, has blamed Israeli communists for the riots. Speaking in the Knesset (Parliament) on Wednesday, Mr. Rabin said the communists sought to tear up the fabric of co-operation between Jews and Arabs built over the past 28 years.
Commenting on the riots and Mr. Rabin's allegations, Mr. Salim el-Kasim, head of the local Communist party in Nazareth, told newsmen that the people had the right to demonstrate and fight for their rights and were provoked by the security forces. "It was brutal attack," he said, "and resulted in people being killed and injured."
After the riots Defence Minister Shimon Peres visited the area. He was asked by newsmen if he agreed with some Israeli Arab leaders who claimed the riots were caused by the large numbers of security forces in the area at the time.
Mr. Peres said he didn't believe this was the cause at all but said he believed the riots were caused by a small minority.
He went on to say that despite recent violence in the West Bank and Galilee areas he believed the infrastructure of goodwill between Israelis and Arabs was still there.