Three wounded as bus pelted with stones after Israeli-Arab protest

Meanwhile, a protest against the US move was held in Rahat that drew about a hundred people. Small protests were held Saturday in Tira and Tamra.

A bus damaged during a protest in Wadi Ara, December 9, 2017 (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
A bus damaged during a protest in Wadi Ara, December 9, 2017
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
Three people were lightly wounded Saturday evening when a bus came under a stone-throwing attack after a demonstration in Wadi Ara against the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Stones were thrown at a bus, the bus driver was lightly injured,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. “Two people were arrested at the scene for being involved in it.”
Reports said the driver was wounded by glass shards and evacuated to the hospital and that two passengers were lightly wounded and treated at the scene near the town of Arara. The reports added that stones were also thrown at police vehicles and that a motorcycle belonging to Yediot Aharonot was damaged.
Rosenfeld declined to say how many people were involved in the stone-throwing, but he said reports that they were masked were inaccurate. “This was a localized incident,” he said.
During the demonstration, protesters blocked Route 65 South before being vacated by police. “It was reopened very quickly by police,” Rosenfeld said.
Meanwhile in the Negev, a protest against the US move was held in Rahat that drew about 100 people. Small protests were held Saturday in Tira and Tamra.
A larger protest in Umm el-Fahm, also in Wadi Ara, on Friday, which organizers said drew several thousands of people, ended without incident. “The main message was rejecting Trump’s decision and emphasizing the rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem and solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for independence,” said MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List), who spoke at the event.
“The Trump declaration is comparable to the Balfour Declaration,” Jabareen told The Jerusalem Post. “A country gives something it doesn’t own to a party that doesn’t deserve it.”
He said the position of his party, Hadash (one of the four parties that make up the Joint List), is that Jerusalem should be the shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state, whether divided between east and west or through an arrangement that will keep it united.
The jubilant reaction of many Israeli Jews to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and plans to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv has heightened the feelings of alienation of Israeli Arab leaders, who insist that the eastern part of the city should become capital of an independent Palestinian state.
“I don’t know what all the ecstasy is about,” said MK Goumha Azbarga (Joint List). “A peace arrangement is in everyone’s interest. Netanyahu and the Right are dancing but the people who live here aren’t Trump and the Americans, it’s us together. This is bad for everyone. The sane people think of this differently than Netanyahu and are not in ecstasy.
“This blocks the way to any peaceful settlement and we want a peaceful settlement,” Azbarga said. “It has a bad impact on the Muslim and Arab worlds and also on the Palestinian issue, which is in everyone’s interest to resolve.”
Azbarga spoke to the Post after participating in the Rahat protest.
Israeli Arab leaders are planning a protest in Tel Aviv opposite the American Embassy on Tuesday, and on Friday a main protest event designed to draw people from throughout the country is planned for Sakhnin.
Meanwhile, MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) took strong issue with the response of his party leader Avi Gabbay to Trump’s move. Gabbay told a television interviewer: “A united Jerusalem is more important than peace because a united Jerusalem is the symbol of the people of Israel.”
Bahloul said, “Peace is the loftiest value that a politician and a human should strive for. I am sorry he made this pronouncement.”
“There is nothing like peace. If we solve the issue of Jerusalem [unilaterally] and war breaks out on all the fronts, what have we done? There will be endless casualties and tension. What will we have done to ourselves and future generations? We are adopting a recipe for war instead of for peace.”
Bahloul said that Trump “should not have made such a declaration because Jerusalem will always be the capital of two states even if the Palestinian state has not yet arisen.”
“With his declaration, he takes a one-sided position that harms the chances of the other side to establish its state and harms ‘two states for two peoples.’ He is cutting off hope from the Palestinians.”
Of the clashes, rocket attacks and air strike over the weekend, Bahloul said: “I am worried about anarchy and loss of control over matters despite the sincere attempt by the Palestinian Authority, even in this delicate situation, to create order and stability.”
Trump’s decision, he added, “pushes the Palestinians against the wall. Jordan is pressured and Egypt will also come under pressure. Turkey is making bellicose pronouncements. What do we need all of this for? Instead of convening everyone to the negotiating table, the Americans make provocative declarations.”
“Israel has the right to its capital in west Jerusalem but the Palestinians also have the right to a state with its capital in east Jerusalem,” he said.