Report: Arab-Israelis Block Roads to Prevent Voters from Reaching Ballots
Unidentified individuals in the Arab village of Taibeh blocked several roads in an attempt to disrupt voters from making their way to polling booths, reported Haaretz, quoting Israeli radio.
Police arrived at the scene and cleared the roads, said the radio.
Sources told Albawaba.com that in other Arab villages and towns, convoys of cars with black flags and pictures of the 13 citizens killed by the Israeli police during their demonstrations in early October in solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada.
All the Arab parties have called on their constituents to either boycott the election or to place a blank ballot in the polling box in protest over the killings.
Arab Israelis, whose support is vital if caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Barak has any chance of winning over his rival Ariel Sharon, refused to go to the polls Tuesday despite last-ditch appeals by Barak.
The percentage of Arab participation in the polls did not exceed 5 percent by Mid-day Tuesday.
"I cannot bring myself to vote for Barak or Sharon. They are both the same. I voted for Barak (in the last election), and he slaughtered us," Ala Abdel Razeq, 24, a fruit vendor in the largest Arab town of Nazareth, told AFP.
Putting on a brave face despite opinion polls showing he is likely to lose to Sharon by a landslide, the embattled Labor leader said it was not too late.
"People who were angry at me are now realizing what is the real alternative, and they are coming back in tens of thousands every hour," Barak was quoted by the agency as saying.
But Prominent Arab MK Azmi Bishara told Al Jazira satellite channel that the Israeli Arabs would not vote. He said that the stand taken by the 1948 Palestinians would strengthen their position in the future – Albawaba.com