Friday, October 29, 2010


March of Jewish Extremists Inflames Arab Stronghold
By Donald Macintyre
The Independent, October 28, 2010
Photo: "The right-wing protest in Ummel-Fahm, northern Israel, yesterday." (Reuters)
"Riot police protecting 30 far-right Israeli extremists who marched in the country's largest Arab town yesterday chanting 'death to terrorists' used a barrage of tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesting residents. Ten arrests were made during clashes between stone-throwing Israeli Arab youths and riot police after the arrival of the marchers, who were led by two of the country's most extreme right-wing activists, Hebron settlers Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir. Hundreds of armed police were deployed at the flashpoint on an outer edge and elsewhere in Umm el-Fahm to keep apart local Arab protesters and Jewish ultranationalists taking part in the short symbolic march, which had been permitted by Israel's Supreme Court. The court decision had fuelled tensions between some Israeli Jews and the country's Arab minority, already exacerbated by a series of legislative proposals targeting Arab Israelis and promoted by Avigdor Lieberman, the country's hard-right foreign minister. These include the demand that newly naturalised citizens should pledge loyalty to Israel as a 'Jewish state.'
After a resident shouted that he had seen a bus bringing the marchers to the neighbourhood, at least two stones were thrown at a protective cordon of police carrying riot shields. Within seconds officers fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades, scattering bystanders, reporters, and around 350 Arab and other demonstrators, including a few from the small ultraorthodox Jewish anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta. As a minority of the Arab protesters -- mainly youths, some masked by headscarves -- returned to burn tyres and throw stones at police, undercover officers, dressed as Arabs, made arrests. Police said four officers had been slightly injured. One arrested teenager could be seen bleeding from a head wound as he was frogmarched away by police. Two Arab Knesset members taking part in the protest, Hanin Zoabi and Afu Aghbaria, were lightly injured by stun grenades. Police kept journalists away from the marchers. But Amneh Jabari, 38, a woman who lives by the designated route, told Associated Press that the marchers brandished Israeli flags and recited prayers, chanting 'death to the Arabs' and 'Umm el-Fahm will be Jewish.' The leaders of the march are admirers of Meir Kahane, an overtly racist US-born rabbi who demanded that Palestinians should be expelled from Israel and the West Bank. He was shot dead by an Arab gunman in a New York Hotel exactly 20 years ago. [...]"

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