Controversy. Peres
Photo: Yotam Frum

Tira residents against Peres

President's visit to northern Arab city interrupted by demonstrators protesting demolitions of local homes. Mayor shrugs off rally, say protestor prompted by personal motives, not greater good

President Shimon Peres toured the northern Israeli Arab city of Tira and met a rather chilly greeting in the form of a protest rally against him.


Dozens of Tira's residents adhered the call of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, blocked several of the city's roads and announced a one-day strike in local businesses and schools, protesting what they called the president's indifference to house demolition.


"The president of Israel is supposed to be everybody's president. He can't sanction the demolition of homes and then come here for some humus," said committee member Fuad Sultani.


Many of Tira's residents have reportedly sent Peres letters asking for his intervention in the matter. When news of his impending visit spread through the city, many asked Khalil Kasim, Tira's mayor, to meet the president, but were refused. The City claimed to have approach Peres' office on the matter, but to no avail.


"The mayor is trying to paint Tira out to be a quite town and we are, but were not dormant. This is why we are here today. The president can't be tearing down my home while he's shaking my hand," committee spokesman Maher Hezkia told Ynet.


"We ask the president to take personal action on the matter. You have the power Sir, you have to protect us just as you protect the people living in Tel Aviv," he added.


Tira's mayor, however, has a different view of things: "The people who rallied here are motivated by person interests. They do not represent more than 2% of the people of this city… we are an example of coexistence with our Jewish brethrens," continued Kasim, "And as long as I am mayor I will not let them tarnish this city's reputation."


פרסום ראשון: 05.26.08, 12:06
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