Some 150 Peace Now activists held a demonstration just outside of Hebron on Thursday to protest the harassment of a Palestinian woman by one of her Jewish neighbors. Last week, a B'tselem video showing Hebron resident Yifat Alkobi pushing the woman from the Abu Isha family and calling her a sharmuta (slut) was released to the media. Alkobi, who claimed that the woman had provoked her, was summoned for questioning by police.
Stop the Jewish barbarians in Hebron
Why the orchestrated fuss?
The left-wing protesters tried to enter the West Bank town, despite an IDF order issued earlier in the day against holding the demonstration inside Hebron because of the public security threat it posed. Police who were deployed at the scene stopped the protesters on the outskirts of the city.
Israel Radio reported earlier that the Hebron army commander and the city's police chief had originally permitted the Peace Now demonstration, but OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh had decided to cancel it, saying in a statement that it was a danger to public security, peace and order in Hebron.
He nonetheless gave permission for the organization to hold a protest at the Okafim Junction north of the city.
At the demonstration, Peace Now Director-General Yariv Oppenheimer called the police "cowards" and accused them of failing to enforce the law against the settlers.
Oppenheimer had earlier called the IDF's decision to cancel the event "outrageous" and declared that the army was caving in to threats from the settlers.
He also pointed out that the IDF frequently allowed Jewish residents to hold public rallies in the city under full police supervision, and insisted on going ahead with the protest.
Speakers at the demonstration included Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin, who strongly criticized the settlers for their behavior.
Meanwhile, a group of right-wing activists organized a counter-protest at the same spot. A scuffle broke out between the two groups after one side hurled epithets at the other, and police who were at the scene intervened to break up the fight.