Umm al-Fahm scholarship event banned

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

A Friday event in which scholarships were to be given to Arabstudents in Umm al-Fahm has been banned by Public Security MinisterYitzhak Aharonovitch due to the Palestinian Authority's unlawfulinvolvement.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hagai Elad, executive-director of The Association for CivilRights in Israel (ACRI), appealed to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuzdemanding that he order law enforcement authorities to allow freedom ofexpression in the region and curb the "violence" used against theactivists 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 beenpeaceful 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 thelaw. It would be better if police knew the law, and that is my hope."

Authorities continue to maintain that there is no authorizationfor the Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations, and the Jerusalem District Policehave stressed that the situation between Jewish and Arab residents ofthe neighborhood is "particularly explosive."

Ben Hartman contributed to this report