'Very dangerous process.' MK Zahalka
Photo: Vadim Daniel

Arabs slam police rationale for delay of rightists' march in Umm al-Fahm

Town's leaders say Department's fear that residents may open fire on Jewish marchers unfounded. 'Our problem is not with the small group of Marzel's supporters, but rather with the increasing level of racism in Israeli society,' MK Zahalka says

Umm al-Fahm residents lauded the Northern District Police's decision to postpone a right-wing activists' march planned for Monday in the Arab town, but cast criticism over the stated reason for the delay: Fear of injuries due to Arab extremists' plans to fire at the marching activists.


"The (police) premise which led to the postponement of the march is even more provocative than the march itself," said Amir Mahoul, chairman of Ittijah-the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, the umbrella organization of the Arab NPOs in Israel.


"Instead of dealing with this group of terrorists they are trying to lay the blame on the Arab population, which is a victim of the racism in Israel," he said while demanding that the police apologize and retract the statement.


Raja Agbariyeh, chairman of the Popular Committee for the Boycott of the Knesset Elections, said "It was the police who used violence against us in the past. We have never shot at anyone; we have no need for weapons."


Umm al-Fahm Mayor Sheikh Hashem Abd al-Rahman praised the decision to postpone the rally, saying "we call on Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter and police brass to hold an urgent meeting with the heads of the Arab and Jewish communities in the area to examine the dangers the fabric of the relationship between the two sectors."


Deputy Mayor Mustafa Suheil told reporters that while the police's fear that residents would use live fire was unfounded, the town leaders were apprehensive over the possible reactions to the march.


"We don’t know what Marzel and his friends would have done during the rally; perhaps they would have incited and called for the expulsion of the Arab population – and then we would not have been able to control the residents' reactions."


Balad Chairman Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka said the police "should have admitted to not being able to secure the march rather than say they feared live fire by the residents of Umm al-Fahm.


"Our problem is not with the small group of Marzel's supporters, but rather with the increasing level of racism in Israeli society. This is a very dangerous process," the MK said.


Earlier Sunday Jewish extremists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel petitioned the High Court of Justice to allow the rally to take place as planned. 


פרסום ראשון: 12.14.08, 17:42
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