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Israeli-Arab leaders express concerns

JERUSALEM, March 15 (UPI) -- Top Israeli-Arab leaders expressed concern Saturday that Jewish politicians are ratcheting up tensions between regional Jews and Arabs.

The Israeli-Arab officials said if the current cultural climate continues to worsen in the region, an Arab leader would likely soon become the target of a political killing, Ynetnews reported.

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As part of a conference in the Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm, Higher Monitoring Committee Chairman Shawki Khatib alleged the current Israeli establishment is persecuting top Arab leaders.

"This campaign of oppression and the denial of rights enjoys the support of the Jewish majority in the country. It is the establishment that encourages the public to breach these rights," Khatib said.

The Israeli-Arab official also alleged any possible future attacks on Arab leaders would likely stem from this political stance by top Israeli officials, Ynetnews said.

"I blame the establishment for any future attack against Arabs. These things originate in the official state policy and come from the center of the political map in Israel," he said.

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