|Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post|
Police arrest 3 activists in protest over PA UN bid
By MELANIE LIDMAN, BEN HARTMAN
MKs Ben Ari, Eldad try to burn Palestinian flag in protest; in Tel Aviv, hundreds rally in favor of bid.
Police arrested three right-wing activists on Thursday at a protest outside the
UN headquarters in east Jerusalem, after two MKs attempted to burn the
MKs Michael Ben-Ari and Arieh Eldad, who were elected
as part of the National Union list but have started the breakaway Strong Israel
party, wanted to burn the flag as a symbol of their opposition to the
Palestinian bid at the UN for non-member observer status.
prevent any attempts to create a Palestinian state west of the Jordan river,”
Eldad said outside the UN headquarters located between the neighborhoods of
Armon Hanatziv and Jebl Mukaber.
“The minute that Abu Mazen [Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] will begin his speech, the Oslo Accords are
canceled,” he said, since no state can take unilateral actions. “We will never
agree to any foreign statehood other than the State of Israel in our
Moriah Precinct Dep.-Cmdr Yaakov Cohen asked the MKs not to
burn the flag.
“This will disrupt public order and I ask you not to do
this,” he said, to which Ben-Ari retorted, “I ask that you take care of the
terrorists before you take care of us.”
When the MKs took out the
Palestinian flag in order to burn it, police forcibly tore the flag out of their
hands, initiating a short scuffle between the 20 protesters and
Chanting “Strong Israel!” and “No more Palestinians!” the
protesters screamed at police that they had no right to stop them.
never was a Palestinian state and there never will be a Palestinian state!”
shouted an agitated Ben-Ari as the protest began to disband.
taking care of our enemies, they are attacking members of Knesset. The UN
is giving a tailwind to people who are trying to destroy the State of Israel!
Sixty five years ago, they gave us a little tiny piece of land. But this was
ours and it will always be ours – we don’t need them and we will never need
them. This is our land because it is our land, not because the UN gave it to
us!” he yelled.
Eldad slammed the police’s use of force. “This was
not an act to protect the order and the peace of Israeli society; it was a
violent act of the police against members of Knesset abusing their force and
preventing us as members of Knesset to express our objection to any creation of
a Palestinian state,” he said.
A significantly more relaxed scene was on
display in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening, where 300-400 protesters held a rally
to call on Israel to support the Palestinian statehood bid.
The crowd was
thick with banners and T-shirts for the left-wing Meretz and Hadash parties, and
over the course of a little over an hour, a string of well-known left-wing
activists took to the stage while the crowd chanted “Two states for two people”
and “Jerusalem: Two capitals for two peoples.”
“We are on the path to an
agreement between free Israel and free Palestine, a peace agreement between two
peoples with two capitals in Jerusalem. There is a chance for a future free of
the [West Bank] occupation and the fear of missiles, an end to the killing and a
future living together,” said former Meretz MK Mosi Raz.
Espanioli, a feminist activist and fifth on the Hadash party list, gave a speech
in which she said, “Congratulations to Israel and to Palestine, that after 60
years, the call for two states for two people is increasing.”
that the two-state solution used to be called “a vision of apocalypse, but this
is a vision that is becoming reality. And the people who aspire to peace are
saying yes!” After a short acoustic guitar song by flotilla participant and
refusenik Yonatan Shapira, veteran far-left activist Uri Avnery took the stage
and said that “what is happening today is obvious; it’s a historical event, both
for us and the Palestinians, but the work only begins here. The UN won’t give
them a state; they need to found their state and if we are choosing to have a
future in peace, we must help them build their state.
Avnery then said
that he wanted to thank two people who led to this day, PLO chairman Yasser
Arafat and former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, before calling on people to make
sure that in the upcoming elections they vote for parties that put the cause of
peace at the top of their agenda.