Israel: Druze riot against cellphone antennae

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.

See our last posts on Israel/Palestine and the Druze.

  1. Restless Druze employ boycotts, arson to combat cellular antenna

    Residents of the Druze community of Majdal Shams are considering calling for a religious boycott of those whose roofs are used by cellular telephone companies to set up antennas.

    “This is how we deal with opposition to cellular antennas in our community,” said Dr. Samih Sfadi, a resident of the village, located on the Golan Heights. On Sunday, three cellular antennas were burned down by residents of the neighboring village of Masadeh.

    Opposition to the cellular antennas is widespread among Druze communities on the Golan. Two months ago, an antenna was set ablaze in the village of Buqata.

    According to Eran Shaked, spokesman for the Galilee District Police, “following the torching of the antennas in Masadeh, the Golan [police] station began collecting evidence. Later, we will make arrests of suspects in the arson cases. We will arrest all those who led the arson attacks.”

    The spokesman added that “complaints have been filed by the cellular telephone companies, and we are now working on a number of levels. The background to the whole thing is opposition to the erection of antennas. There are no other motives.”