Hundreds of peace activists have requested permission to hold a demonstration in the town under the banner "Next evacuation coming soon." The demonstration is part of a new campaign launched by the movement last week.
Security officials defended their decision not to approve the demonstration fearing clashes between peace activists and Jewish right-wing residents of the city.
Settlers prepare 'traitor's welcome'
It appears the police have good reasons to back their decision. Settlers have plans to welcome the demonstrators with the “best fruits
The hostility between the two camps is mirrored in the words of far right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who told Ynet that “Peace Now people are traitors, collaborators with the enemy. We will actually be very happy to see them near our houses in Hebron, and we have prepared a welcome suitable for traitors.”
The demonstration is part of a new campaign launched by Peace Now following the implementation of the disengagement plan under which 8,000 settlers were evacuated from all settlements in the Gaza Strip and four isolated settlements in the West Bank.
'Nightmare of every soldier'
The new campaign was originally named “The next evacuation will be coming to you soon” yet fearing the provocative wording might portray the camp as ‘happy over the settlers’ misfortunes’ it was decided to adopt the less offensive: "We evacuated Gaza - next evacuation coming soon."
“Hebron, the Jewish settlement in Hebron, is the most obvious example of a problematic, isolated settlement which is embittering the lives of the locals and becoming the nightmare of every soldier,” Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now Secretary-General told Ynet.
“Soon we will reach many more settlement which we think are problematic,” he added.
Oppenheimer complained that his movement’s demand one month ago to hold a demonstration in Hebron is yet to be answered. “We were told that our request is on the table of Central Command Chief Maj. General Yair Naveh,” he said.
“In the lead-up to the Sukkot holiday tens of thousands of people got to Hebron constituting a security burden to the IDF. Are we a heavier burden than these tens of thousands of celebrators?” he said.
Meanwhile, the police have prepared large troops and water cannons to prevent demonstrators from reaching Hebron. The IDF for its parts has said that it lacks the manpower to secure the demonstration, adding that “the permit was not granted in order to prevent clashes between the sides.”
While IDF commanders said that they will have recourse to all means to prevent the demonstration, they made it clear that “if the activists reach Hebron, we will seek to protect the demonstration, disperse it and prevent clashes.”