Umm al-Fahm scholarship event banned

Public security minister cites PA's unlawful involvement; hundreds to protest in Sheikh Jarrah.

January 23, 2010 04:37
1 minute read.
Umm al-Fahm scholarship event banned

sheikh jarrah protest 248 88. (photo credit: Abe Selig)

A Friday event in which scholarships were to be given to Arab students in Umm al-Fahm has been banned by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch due to the Palestinian Authority's unlawful involvement.

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However, a defiant MK Taleb A-Sanaa (United Arab List - Ta'al), who had organized the Arab Democratic Movement event, said it would be held as planned despite the police prohibition.

"This is political persecution. It is regrettable that the public security minister has not internalized the fact that the days of martial law are long gone," A-Sanaa said.

The event's organizers also planned to take advantage of the platform to express solidarity with east Jerusalem residents who had been given demolition orders for their homes.

In related news, hundreds of left-wing activists were set to demonstrate in Sheikh Jarrah against what they termed the "Jewish takeover" of the east Jerusalem neighborhood.

Demonstrations have been held in the neighborhood each week for the past three months to protest the eviction of Arab families from their homes and the takeover of the homes by Jewish settlers.

In 2008, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that property in Sheikh Jarrah that was part of the former Jewish neighborhood 'Shimon Hatzadik' belonged to the Sephardic Community Committee, paving the way for Jewish settlers to oust the Arab families. In August 2009, two Palestinian families were evicted from two homes in Sheikh Jarrah, Jewish settlers moved in, and protests have rocked the neighborhood ever since.

Hagai Elad, executive-director of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), appealed to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz demanding that he order law enforcement authorities to allow freedom of expression in the region and curb the "violence" used against the activists in recent demonstrations there.

In one such demonstration last week, Elad was among 17 left-wing activists arrested for what police said was an illegal gathering.

"The protests carried out in the last few weeks have been peaceful and in keeping with the law," Elad told Army Radio on Friday. "The only ones who went out of control were the police, who broke the law. It would be better if police knew the law, and that is my hope."

Authorities continue to maintain that there is no authorization for the Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations, and the Jerusalem District Police have stressed that the situation between Jewish and Arab residents of the neighborhood is "particularly explosive."

Ben Hartman contributed to this report

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