police injured two Arab legislators on Wedensay in violent clashes
provoked by Jewish rightwing extremists staging a march through the
northern Arab town of Umm al-Fahm.
Zoubi, a parliament member who has become a national hate figure in
Israel and received hundreds of death threats since her participation in
an aid flotilla to Gaza in the summer, was among those hurt.
Zoubi reported being hit in the back and neck by rubber bullets as she
fled the area when police opened fire. In an interview, she said she
believed she had been specifically targeted by police snipers after they
Police denied her claims, saying they had used only tear gas and stun grenades.
Some 1,500 police were reported to have faced off with hundreds of Arab and Jewish demonstrators in the town.
Koren, the northern police commander, admitted special paramilitary
forces had been used against the Arab counter-demonstration, as well as
an undercover unit more usually deployed at Palestinian protests in the
officer disguised as an Arab demonstrator, from the so-called
“mistarvim unit”, was among the injured, apparently after police fired a
stun grenade at him by mistake.
Zoubi harshly criticised the police violence. “The police proved that
they are a far more dangerous threat to me and other Arab citizens than
the fascist group that came to Umm al-Fahm,” she said.
march was organised by far-right settlers allied to Kach, a movement
that demands the expulsion of Palestinians from both Israel and the
occupied territories. The movement was formally outlawed in 1994, but
has continued to flourish openly among some settler groups.
The organisers said they were demanding the banning of the Islamic Movement, which has its headquarters in Umm al-Fahm.
Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.
Islamic Movement’s leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, has angered Israeli
officials by heading a campaign in Jerusalem’s Old City to highlight
what he says is an attempted Israeli takeover of the Haram al-Sharif
compound that includes the al-Aqsa mosque.
was also on the Mavi Marmara aid ship to Gaza in May, and claimed at
the time that Israeli commandos had tried to assassinate him. Nine
passengers were killed, some of them by close-range shots to their
sheikh is currently serving a three-month jail sentence over clashes
with the Israeli security forces close to the al-Aqsa mosque.
Ben Ari, a former Kach member and now an MP with the rightwing National
Union party, who attended the march, said Israel must not be a “stupid
democracy and let people who want to destroy us have a voice”.
Marzel, one of the march organisers, told Israel Radio: “If the Kach
Party was outlawed, then the Islamic Movement deserves to be outlawed
1,000 times over.”
On hearing of Ms Zoubi’s injuries, he added: “It was worth going to Umm el-Fahm. She is our enemy.”
Afu Aghbaria, an Arab MP with the joint Jewish-Arab Communist party, was also hurt. He said he had been hit in the leg.
leaders said the clash had been triggered by undercover police who
began thowing stones from among the demonstrators -- a tactic that the
unit has been caught on film using at protests in the West Bank.
Zeidan, head of the Higher Follow-Up Committee, the main political body
for Israel’s Arab citizens, who comprise a fifth of the total
population, condemned the police actions.
is no longer found only in documents or on the margins, like with
Marzel, but has become a phenomenon among decision-makers and carried
out on the ground. What happened today in Umm al-Fahm is a menacing
The committee demanded a state investigation into what it called “exaggerated violence” by the police.
Police said nine Arab demonstrators had been arrested for stone-throwing.
Four police officers were reported to be lightly injured. The far-right marchers were escorted away by police, unharmed.
Zoubi, a first-term MP, shot to notoriety this summer after she was
among the first passengers to be released following Israel’s violent
takeover of the Mavi Marmara.
Zoubi contradicted the Israeli account that the nine passengers had
been killed by commandos defending themselves, accusing the navy of
opening fire on the ship before any commandos had boarded. She also
claimed several passengers had been allowed to bleed to death.
was provided with a body guard for several weeks after receiving a
spate of deaths threats and general villification in the parliament.
Israeli police have been criticised in the past for lying about the
strong-arm methods used to quell protests by the country’s Arab
state commission of inquiry found in 2003 that the police had used live
ammunition and rubber bullets, in violation of its own regulations, to
suppress solidarity demonstrations inside Israel at the start of the
Arab citizens were killed and hundreds injured in a few days of clashes
in 2000. Police had falsely claimed that the deaths had been caused by
“friendly fire” from among the demonstrators.
recently parliamentary report revealed that there were only 382 Muslims
in Israel’s 21,000-strong national police force – or less than 2 per
establishment of the undercover “mistarvim” unit against the country’s
Arab population caused outrage among civil rights groups when it was
first revealed last year.
far-right march in Umm al-Fahm was timed to coincide with the twentieth
anniversary this week of the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who
founded Kach. At a commemoration service in Jerusalem on Tuesday,
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel told hundreds who attended that the government was
allowing the Palestinians to “establish an Ishmael state in Israel”.
Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest
books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the
Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing
Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His
website is www.jkcook.net.