Police arrested nine Umm el-Fahm residents for rioting in the northern town, reportedly injuring two Arab MKs, as right-wing activists marched on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s assassination.
After the march and the riots, Israel Radio interviewed Baruch Marzel, one of the organizers of the march, and MK Haneen Zoabi, who said she was injured by the police.
1,000 mark 20th anniversary of Kahane's assassination
Ben Gvir, Marzel set to demonstrate in Umm el-Fahm
"If Zoabi was injured, it was worth going to Umm el-Fahm," Marzel said. "She is our enemy!"
Marzel also called for the Islamic Movement to be outlawed, saying, "We want Jewish children to be able to walk free in Umm el-Fahm, because this is the heart of Eretz Yisrael."
To those who call him racist, Marzel said that he is "not against Arabs or Chinese or anyone. I'm only against my enemies. I'm not a racist; I don't think Agbaria deserved to be injured."
When Israel Radio turned to Zoabi and asked how she was feeling, Zoabi responded, "I'm okay."
To that, Marzel retorted: "If she's not injured, it's bad news." He added that he is "determined to put her in Abbas' parliament, not our Knesset."
Zoabi then claimed that policemen who recognized her shot rubber bullets at her neck and back, as she attempted to take cover.
Police denied injuring Zoabi, and said they did not use rubber bullets at all.
"The police defend facists, and threaten the lives of Arab citizens because they can shoot and injure people," Zoabi said. "Why don't they shoot in the air? Why did they aim at my back and neck? I am not only threatened by the facist right, I am threatened by the police," the MK said.
Umm el-Fahm residents throw rocks, burn tires
On Wednesday morning, Umm el-Fahm residents, as well as haredi Neturei Karta activists carrying signs with the message "Arabs Yes, Zionists No," gathered in the area, and as the march neared the city, residents began to throw rocks.
Police released stun grenades and tear gas into the street in order to scatter Arab residents demonstrating in the area.
Shortly after, Arab teens gathered again to throw rocks at the forces positioned to keep them separated from the march, they also burned tires but police continued to use crowd-dispersal methods from a distance.
National Union MK and Kahane disciple Michael Ben Ari announced on the way to the march that there are terrorists in Umm el-Fahm.
"I warned, and no one listened to me!" Ben Ari said. "I turn to the prime minister and say: There is no reason that the Islamic Movement should be allowed to exist in Israel. In Egypt, it's illegal. In Jordan, they're not allowed to have any influence."
Ben Ari continued: "There is no reason we should be a stupid democracy and let people who want to destroy us have a voice."
nearly half an hour of rock-throwing and tire-burning, police ran and
rode horses into the streets of Umm el-Fahm, continuing to shoot stun
grenades and tear gas, and dragged away the offenders, as the right-wing
activists approached the town.
Police arrested nine suspects,
and reported that four officers were lightly injured. MKs Afo Agbaria
and Haneen Zoabi said they were lightly injured.
"There is a
large police presence in and around for this morning's gathering by
right-wing activisits," Israel Police spokesman Chief Inspector Micky
Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem
before Wednesday's march. "We are hoping things will
be quiet and without any disturbances."
"Different units from
different districts are on stand-by in the area, and we are fully
prepared to deal with it, if things erupt," Rosenfeld explained.
The march was organized by far-right activist Baruch Marzel and Itamar
Ben-Gvir, in order to commemorate the murder of Kahane, shot dead by an
Egyptian-American terrorist in New York in 1990. Police are opposed to
the event due to security concerns, and initially turned down a request
to hold the protest, but were forced to authorize it following a High
Court ruling in favor of the right-wing activists earlier this year.
year, a similar event was held in March by several dozen activists on
the outskirts of Umm el-Fahm, in which disturbances broke out after
local youths clashed with riot police.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.