The march that needed 2,500 policemen to protect 100 people

24 03 2009

In their kippas and long beards, 100 right-wing Israelis marched through the Arab-Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm today, raising Israeli flags and showing their patriotism. The residents of the town had been trying to block this march for quite a while now, going all the way to the courts, where it had been ruled that the march had the constitutional right to take place in Israel’s democracy.

You’re a very smart person if you guess what happened next.

Palestinian-Israeli residents began throwing stones at the marchers, and soon enough, it turned into a rather violent scene, with tear gases, gun shots in the air, injuries and 13 arrests.

Not much of a surprise, right? 

Here’s a YouTube video from Reuters…

There is no doubt that freedom of speech and expression are some of the most important laws in a society. Your voice is as important as your existence. 

This march, however, seemed to be more of a provocation and incitement than an exercise of democratic rights. In fact, any march that needs 2,500 policemen to protect 100 people would leave the mind wondering a little bit. The right-wingers wanted that specific town. Why? I ask. Why Umm al-Fahm precisely? Israel has no shortage of towns and these marchers did not go through all of them.

Let me juice it up a little more for you.

One of the leaders of the march was Baruch Mazrel, former secretariat of the Kach party that was outlawed by Israel in 1994 and later by the U.S., Canada and the EU as a terrorist organization. Yes… Mazrel was one of the top men of a terrorist organization that was banned because it advocated racism and the expulsion of all Palestinian-Israelis from Israel (and Palestinians of the Territories). In fact, during his time with Kach, the organization came out with a statement supporting the massacre of 29 Palestinians in Hebron. And here we see him today talking about his democratic right in marching. Do you still have doubts about the intentions of this march?

The actions of those Umm al-Fahm residents weren’t all that innocent either. In the Reuters video above you hear a few people chanting in the background in Arabic, “Khaybar Khaybar you Jews, the army of Mohammad will return.”

In Islamic history, Khaybar was one of the earlier battles lead by Mohammad and his followers against the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir in the oasis of “Khaybar.” They had broken their promise to Mohammad and began inciting neighboring Arab tribes against the small Muslim group. They lost the battle and were only allowed to live in the oasis if they gave half their produce to the prophet.

The point is, do you really want to be chanting these anti-Semitic comments now? This makes the stone-throwers look as racist as those right-wingers. A counter-march should have been organized to run at the same time as that of the right-wingers. These brash actions could have easily been avoided. Intelligence wins over physical strength folks. 

*Read BBC article here.



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