Archive for the ‘Israeli Palestinians’ Category

Right-wingers march towards Silwan

Posted: April 25, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Israeli Palestinians, Palestinians

Ben-Gvir leading the march (courtesy: Ynet) In what was called by radical Left as “provocative” act, close to 30 Israeli far-Right activists marched through some 200 meters (218 yards) of East Jersualem’s Silwan neighborhood. The quarter, populated by Israeli Palestinians, is a cornerstone of recent unrest, going back several months:

Moments before the march began, some 20 masked men hurled stones at the dozens of policemen deployed in the area. Jerusalem District Commander Aharon Franco arrived in the neighborhood as well and told Ynet that the police had deployed there with massive forces.

Two policemen were lightly injured from stones hurled at them during the march. A policewoman hurt in the shoulder was evacuated to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. One of the stone throwers was arrested.

Police officials said two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a protest tent in the neighborhood, without causing any injuries.

Right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir told Ynet, "We won’t be deterred by the Arabs’ stone throwing. We demand that the police handle the stone throwers highhandedly and not give those thugs a reward." Baruch Marzel said that "Arabs will not prevent Jews from marching legally in Jerusalem."

Faraj Sufian, a neighborhood resident whose house was built illegally, told Ynet that "the residents of Silwan are eating their hearts out seeing their streets being trampled. Our illegal homes were built this way because the municipality won’t let anyone build in this city, and the criminals are acting instead of the mayor."

(Ynet)

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, in Silwan, said the demonstration was "extremely small" and that it was "difficult to measure the size of the impact".

"The fact that this march took place has been seen as extremely provocative; a highly aggressive gesture on the part of the settlers – people really hell-bent on driving Palestinians from their land," she said.

The settlers were hoping to walk for several hundred metres but police "seems to have circumscribed their march fairly tightly".

"They were only able to walk 200 metres down the hill."

(Al Jazeera)

THE MARCH, PLANNED in advance, had little to no impact on an average Israeli, thus it is unclear if the idea justified hundreds of policemen and women securing the ordeal. True – Israelis should be able to go wherever they feel like inside Israel; however, they shouldn’t force the strained police force to safeguard their ideology. If Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel wish to walk through Silwan – they should be allowed to do so. The police forces, however, should not be dispatched as private guards. Marzel and Ben-Gvir understand their activism cause riots; they feel safe, however, knowing security forces would risk own wellbeing to protect them.

This is just wrong. Freedom of speech is sacred and should be upheld… But not at others’ expense.

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East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan In an unusual step, Prime Minister’s office officially requested the Public Security Minister (heading Ministry of Internal Affairs) to delay planned march through an Arab neighborhood by Right-wing activists. The group, consisting of extreme Right-wing elements, was approved to march through East Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhood of Silwan, similar to one the group held at Israeli-Palestinian city of Umm al-Fahm:

"This is a rally by extremist elements that want to provoke the Arab population in Jerusalem. Such activity at this time may ignite the city and hurt diplomatic efforts being led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assist the Americans in jumpstarting the peace process," the statement said.

It is believed that Netayahu’s unusual request was made due to the visit of U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell to the region. Mitchell is expected to depart Sunday night.

(Haaretz)

WHILE THE GROUP claims to protest illegal Palestinian construction in the area, Israeli radical Left-wing groups and Israeli-Palestinians say the residents will be outraged and consequences could be dire:

Silwan’s residents and leftist organizations are fuming over the decision to allow the rightists to march. "Even if the law allows them to march – it is a dangerous provocation," Hagit Ofran, the director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch, told Ynet.

"The (rightists) want to turn Jerusalem into Hebron, where a handful of Jewish extremists force their will on the local population," she said.

Attorney Ziad Kawar, who represents Silwan’s residents, said the Jerusalem Municipality’s planning committee was at fault for not issuing building permits. "The committee is preventing us from leading a normal lifestyle due to political and extremist considerations," he said.

(Ynet)

The situation requires much self-scrutiny: on one hand, one shouldn’t pour fuel to the fire that could ignite entire Jerusalem and – possibly – beyond. On the other hand, bowing to radicalism and violent extortion is a serious breach of one’s right to express him/her self. Sadly, it is like that once again the Israeli Police Force would be the one to separate the sides and be injured.

Learning your lesson

Posted: March 16, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Israeli Palestinians, Own Articles, Palestinians, Various

IT TOOK THEM years – quite a few years, in fact – but they finally did. Israeli police force officers finally understood using high volumes of violence against as high violence might work short-term, but causes political harm in the long term. While in the past Israeli riot police extensively used rubber bullets – which can cause great harm in extreme cases – nowadays you will rarely see the masked officers using this tool. Officers do their best to keep distance, assaulting in rare instances when violence reaches critical levels.

The new tactic – implemented only in past year and a half – is no doubt the result of sweeping changes – in both political and operational branches of the police force. The arrival of Yitzhak Aharonovich – former deputy police Chief and former Commander of the Border Guard unit – brought a new operational era, with explicit orders for the police units to control use of force. Together with current police Chief – Dudi Cohen – Aharonovich revamped the strategy and tactics for riot dispersal.

First and foremost, the strategy bases on riot police heavily outweighing the rioters in numbers. While in the past usually several hundred policemen participated in riot-dispersal measures, currently there are nearly 3,000 police men, women and officers. Cohen’s men can be found all over the dangerous areas, from the Temple Mount to Shuaffat neighborhood. Riot police, border guards and even some IDF soldiers stand by, closing off troublesome areas.

Secondly, the riot units changed the way they operate against the rioters. As I mentioned above, rubber bullets gave way to less violent means, such as CS gas canisters, flash grenades heavier armor, protecting the officers. Nowadays, police prefers less contact with the rioters, which seems to work fairly well. The pictures you see on TV are way less "exciting" than previously. Officers carrying "silenced" weapons (actually rubber bullets dispensers) are scarcely visible now, and the protests are much less violent than previously seen. While some reporters – particularly based in Middle Eastern countries – constantly attempt to spread the hype of non-existent "popular uprising", the picture on the streets of Jerusalem is quite different.

Partially, relatively few cases of violence are result of low attendance levels among protesters. While dozens of thousands participated in October 2000 riots, mere hundreds were actually violently participating, with many taking the post of bystanders. While some public figures – such as Hamas’ Ismayil Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal – outdid themselves trying to add fuel to the fire, their efforts mostly went unanswered. While Hamas activists – few in numbers in Fatah-controlled West Bank – fought the police, most Fatah supporters chose to stay home or go to work.

The restraint comes with a price, however. Unlike the past, Israeli Police sees increase in injured officers; today (March 16) 14 officers received physical injuries, versus 33 Palestinians. Yet, the government sees political gain worth the physical injury.

The new strategy might be put to the test soon. If riots increase in volumes, officers would find it harder to use restrained force against thousands of violent rioters, using everything from stones, concrete blocks and Molotov cocktails. That would be the real test for the men and women under fire.

Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman THE NATIONAL AND international press are busy assaulting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s decision to bar those who never served the Israeli Defense Forces or the National Service from Foreign Ministry’s cadet course. Liberman’s decision – surprisingly – was supported today by Israel’s Consul General to Alexandria, Egypt – Hassan Ka’bia.

Ka’bia, a Bedouin and a former Lieutenant-Colonel in Israeli Defense Forces, stated to the press that Lieberman’s decision was right one, asserting such act would only ban those not willing to contribute to their communities:

For many years already, the Arab sector has ganged up against national service. There were demonstrations against national service. I say, these are people who are supposed to be partners with the State. They need to do national service at the very least: to work in the village, in hospitals, somewhere.

Ka’bia then went on to say that while he is not calling for Arab population to join the Army, he believes Arab youths should join the National Service – an Israel-wide project, incorporating dozens of thousands of youths, service for a year or two, contributing to the community by means of working with the sick and the elderly, children and the disabled, etc.

He then expressed his full support for Lieberman’s stand:

If you don’t identify with the State, this is a problem," he said. "I am not coming to sign them on a loyalty document, but identification is (expressed) through contribution. In order to represent the State, you must identify with it, to be familiar with the society. The cadets’ course that trains diplomats is not enough. You must prove that you have done something for Israeli society. I hold Lieberman in great esteem for what he said."

The minister’s statements aren’t against Arabs. He isn’t speaking out against us. He is saying – this is the most prestigious course that trains diplomats to serve in various countries. As a consul, I need to explain the government’s policies, the policies of what is going on in Israel. Therefore, it is not enough to come to the diplomatic corps and do a course

There is a bunch of diplomats from the Druze sector, as well as Arabs and Bedouins

Shfaram residents demonstrate against legal proceedings

ONE OF MOST controversial issues of the year reappears again, as trial begins for twelve members of a lynch mob, that killed deserting IDF soldier Eden Natan Zada. Zada, however, is a terrorist, who entered the Israeli Palestinian town of Shfaram, opened fire on a bus, murdering four civilians and wounding ten others. Immediately following the attack, large crows gathered, lynching Zada.

Today, close to one hundred protesters gathered in front of Haifa District Court, calling for immediately cessation of legal proceedings. Among protesters – hard-line VIPs, such as Islamic Movement’s Sheikh Raed Salah (previously featured on these pages), HADASH’s MK Mohammed Barakeh and BALAD’s Jamal Zahalka.

Points the crowd started with were good: Arabs, just as Jews, should be equally protected by the law. If Palestinian terrorists goes shooting on a busy street of Jerusalem (or using a bulldozer) – the Jewish residents shoot him, no questions asked. As it should be – another moment for this man/woman alive could bring dozens of dead. Thus, just as the Jews would kill a terrorist, even one not doing any harm at that particular moment, so the Arabs should be able to defend themselves.

Then, however, the elected representatives dragged their protest into windstorm of accusations, ranging from apartheid to fascism. While those certainly could be feelings of the demonstrators, shouldn’t elected officials act smarter? Shouldn’t they fight for reconciliation and justice, instead of spreading hatred? After all, the Israeli citizens present – who demand equality in work and social benefits – surely understand that labeling the trial as “embodiment of the fascist regime in Israel” would not open the doors of equality for them?

That is not to say they should not protest. What happens today is injustice. On July 2, 2008 (almost a year ago, come to think of it) 30-years-old Hussam Taysir Duwai used his construction bulldozer to attack Jewish civilians on a major Jerusalem road. After killing three and wounding over 40, the man was killed by an off-duty IDF soldier and a police officer. The police stated it was necessary to use deadly force against the perpetrator, stopping him from reaching the crowded Machane Yehuda market, under a mile away.

As in the case of Jerusalem attack, it is easily imaginable that residents of the Israeli Palestinian town feared for their lives, hence the attack on the terrorist. While investigation certainly should follow such an act, it seems that legal proceedings are out of order in this case.

Internal Security Minister Aharonovitch

IF YOU ARE a Jew, and afraid of negative publicity, you shouldn’t visit the holiest site for your religion – or you will be viciously attacked. As Ariel Sharon in 2000, Internal Security Minister’s visit to the Temple Mount – a site that sparked much violence in recent years and where preachers urge their followers to murder Jews – was labeled a “provocation”, despite the fact it was fully coordinated with the Waqf – a Muslim organization responsible for the Al-Aqsa mosque and its surroundings. While Arab press attempts to attribute Aharonovich’s visit to alleged Israeli “plans” to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque (totally ridiculous and unfounded), it must be made clear that it is Aharonovich’s duty to visit the site of so much friction in past years. The Second Intifada begun here and there are still cases of unrest on Mount’s top.

Raed Salah inciting against Israel

WHILE FOR SOME time campus incitement and brainwashing stayed off Israeli universities and colleges, it had to arrive one day. This phenomenon is highly widespread in the United States, where anti-Israel Muslim movements on campus are as frequent as celebrity scandals. One day or another, it had to reach Israel.

Raed Salah, the chief of Islamic Movement northern division, knows the insides of Israeli prisons well. In 2003, he was arrested by the Israeli police for allegedly raising millions of dollars for HAMAS terror group, and spent two years in jail, after which a deal was reached with the authorities, binding him to Israel and forcing him to register with parole officer monthly. These days, Salah’s mission is incitement against Israel, and he does his job well.

Salah arrived at Haifa U campus today to talk to Arab students. No Jewish students were allowed, as university’s management feared clashes – so those students had to stay out, protesting outside. Inside, however, it was festive as well, with Salah dropping the bomb – Benjamin Netanyahu is about to fulfill his plan of destroying the Al-Aqsa mosque and establishing Jews’ Temple in its place.

Israeli Jews certainly read such proclamations with skepticism: some of them probably would be in favor of rebuilding the Temple, but everyone knows this is about last point on Netanyahu’s list, if at all. No Israeli leader, for at least two decades, spoke of rebuilding the Temple; yet, Salah and his men constantly remind their followers of their plan. Almost two years ago he played same tune, claiming he is only trying to protect the Mosque. Two years passed since then and nothing changed. The CD changer’s probably stuck.