Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
US envoy Mitchell (L) and Netanyahu
Photo: GPO

AG rejects Bibi's request to delay rightist march

PM's Office says rightists planning to march in Silwan Sunday want to provoke local Arabs; claims rally may 'ignite the city, hinder efforts to jumpstart peace talks.' AG Weinstein : No legal grounds to postpone rally

The Prime Minister's Office has asked the Internal Security Ministry to postpone the rightist march in east Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, which is scheduled for Sunday, by a few weeks.


However, Israel's attorney general said there were no legal grounds to delay the march.


"This rally was organized by extremist elements that are looking 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 PM's Office said in a statement issued Saturday evening.


However, following consultations with police and State Prosecutor's Office officials, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein determined that after the Israel Police said it was prepared for the rally, there were no legal grounds to postpone it once again. He added that the Supreme Court would not authorize such move. 


At this time, it aappears as though the march will take place as planned.


In response to Netanyahu's demand, far rightist Itamar Ben-Gvir, one of the organizers, turned to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstraus and Attorney General Weinstein and urged them to warn Netanyahu that his intervention in the affair is illegal.


"The PMO's request constitutes a blatant attempt on Netanyahu's part to intervene in professional considerations while trying to impose his own irrelevant considerations," Ben-Gvir said.


On Friday, Ben-Gvir said, "We don't have to capitulate to (special US Mideast envoy George) Mitchell," adding that "It is even more important to march due to his arrival in the region in order to show everyone that we are a democratic country."


Earlier this week, the right-wing activist said, "We expect the upholders of the rule of law who have worked to seal off Beit Yonatan to march with us and demand the enforcement of the rule of law where it applies to the razing of 216 illegal Arab homes in the village."


Earlier Saturday, police officials said the march would take place as scheduled, adding that dozens of police and Border Guard officers will deploy in the Silwan area ahead of the rally.


The officials said police will employ a policy of zero tolerance regarding any provocation attempt by either side.


Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said the rightists want to turn east Jerusalem into Hebron.


"The extremist Right is continuing with its efforts to fan the flames of hatred and deepen the rift between Israelis and Palestinians. Tomorrow's march will hurt Israel's image, as well as its diplomatic interests," he said. 


The march has been postponed several times since being approved in principal last month, for fear that the riots in Jerusalem would repeat themselves.


The police gave permission to 70 right-wing activists to march 700 meters (about half a mile) for an hour, from the Givati parking lot to the center of the village. They were asked not to march with weapons.


Aviad Glickman contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 04.24.10, 23:32
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