Palestinian director arrested at rally

Jabbarin nabbed for leading Jaffa demo held to show solidarity with J'lem.

By
March 18, 2010 02:59
4 minute read.
Demonstrators in Jaffa wave anti-Israeli signs and

jaffa day of rage rally 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

Prominent Palestinian director and playwright Samieh Jabbarin was arrested Wednesday night at the end of a rally in Jaffa held to show solidarity with the “Day of Rage” protesters in east Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Police said Jabbarin was arrested for leading an illegal protest.

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After the arrest was made, protesters headed to the police station on Tel Aviv’s Rehov Salameh to rally for Jabbarin’s release.

Jabbarin, who two weeks ago admonished protesters for carrying Israeli flags with the word “peace” written on them at a protest in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and was once placed under house arrest for his activist efforts, told The Jerusalem Post at the rally Wednesday that “what is happening in east Jerusalem is the exact same thing that is happening in Jaffa.”

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Jabbarin said he saw Israel’s efforts to “Judaize” east Jerusalem as illustrating “a failure of the Zionist enterprise. Once they realized that they cannot exterminate the Palestinian people, they decided instead to build more houses and focus on legislation to drive us out.”

Around 50 activists attended the rally at a public park on Jaffa’s Rehov Yefet, waving Palestinian flags, playing drums and holding signs that said “Free Al-Quds” and “Free Palestinian prisoners” among others.

The drum circle kept the beat as protesters shouted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Israel is a fascist state,” among other slogans.

The rally brought together activists from a variety of groups, including Anarchists Against the Wall and the Sons of the Village, an Israeli-Arab political group.

A police van was parked across the street from the rally, and Yassam riot police watched the rally, as a few undercover police officers circulated among the protesters.

At one point, someone in a passing car yelled “Go to Jordan!,” followed minutes later by a passing car whose passengers yelled “Allahu Akbar.”

During Tuesday’s “Day of Rage,” Palestinians across east Jerusalem threw rocks, set tires and garbage bins ablaze and even used live ammunition against police forces deployed by the thousands in the capital.

Early Tuesday evening, unknown assailants threw rocks at three different Dan buses on Jaffa’s Rehov Yefet. No injuries or damage resulted, but police launched searches for the suspects and redirected traffic to the parallel Jerusalem Avenue.

Imam Satel, head of the Islamic Movement’s Jaffa branch, told the Post on Wednesday that he doesn’t believe that the violent clashes seen in Jerusalem on Tuesday would come to Jaffa, and denied contentions that a third intifada, this time led by Israeli Arabs, could be on the way.

“We want to live in peace, we don’t want there to be a big mess here. I hope this will all pass quietly,” he said.

He added that while Arab residents of Jaffa do care about what is happening in east Jerusalem, they are more concerned about the issues facing their own community.

“There are many problems in this city, including housing and education; we have many problems and we need to deal with what is going on in Jaffa first,” he said.

Satel added that he doesn’t believe that the rock-throwing incident Tuesday had been planned at all, saying it was probably “just kids who acted out.” He didn’t think it indicated an escalation in violence or tensions in the city.

Kamal Agbaria, who chairs the neighborhood committee of Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood, said he attended a meeting Wednesday with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, along with all of the other leaders of Jaffa’s Arab community.

Agbaria said the meeting, which was called in the wake of the rock-throwing on Rehov Yefet, “had a good feeling to it,” adding that everyone present criticized the rock throwers and agreed that the assailants were just kids acting out.

Agbaria said they also told Huldai about the problems facing the community, including housing, crime, and relations with the police.

“We told him [Huldai] that there is no connection between the clashes in east Jerusalem and Jaffa, even though it is true that there is a lot of tension in Jaffa and it can [explode] at any moment,” Agbaria said.

Across Jaffa on Wednesday, there was no sense of tension. Up and down Rehov Yefet, including at the spots where rocks were thrown Tuesday, tourist groups from Europe and the US were seen strolling, and there was no noticeable police presence.

Police denied reports that the number of patrol cars in the city have been increased.

“Our presence in Jaffa is as it would be on any other day,” a police source said.

Yaakov Lappin and Carmelle Wolfson contributed to this report.


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