The northern Israeli village of Pekiin turned into a battleground Oct. 30 as clashes between police and Druze protesters left some 16 police officers and a similar number of medics and residents injured. One resident was in serious condition after being shot in the stomach, and a police officer was reportedly hospitalized with serious head wounds. The clashes broke out after a force of more than 100 police entered the village before dawn to arrest five men suspected of having vandalized a cellphone antenna installed in the neighboring community of New Pekiin. When the force tried to carry out the arrests, they were attacked with rocks and metal bars by masked Druze youth, and police responded by opening fire. The villagers believe that radiation from the antenna causes cancer. (NYT, Oct. 31)
Media accounts have played up the fact that the Druze are known for their loyalty to the Israeli state, and often themselves serve in the security forces. Reports have not emphasized the actual cause of the protests. We fervently hope that this is the beginning of a global rebellion against cellphone antennae.