Wednesday, 02 March 2011 12:57 Tania Kepler for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)
Sixty right-wing Zionist protestors marched through the historic Palestinian city of Jaffa Wednesday morning (2 March) at 10 am, carrying Israeli flags and chanting nationalist slogans.
Right wing Israelis marching through the Palestinian city of Jaffa (photo courtesy of Yaffa Today)
The demonstration was organized to counter the January march of Palestinian and left-wing activists that called for equality in the area and the rejection of settlements.
Right-wing activist and Member of Knesset Michael Ben-Ari, of the ultra-right wing National Union party, and his assistant Itamar Ben-Gvir, organized the event and marched through Jaffa, along with extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel.
Demonstrators chanted "Jewish Jaffo" and sang "He who believes is not afraid, we must not lose faith, because we have the king of the world[God], and he will protect us from everyone,” a popular song by Eyal Golan, reported the Jerusalem Post.
"Everyone who is a Zionist should come" to the demonstration, Ben-Gvir said. "We are here to represent Zionism. This is what the fathers of Zionism dreamed of."
20 left-wing activists, who clashed with Israeli police in a Jaffa park before the rally, were detained on allegations of rock throwing. 16 were reported arrested.
Upon conclusion of the rally, hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel gathered in Jaffa to protest the right-wing demonstration.
Palestinian resident of Jaffa being detained by Israeli special forces (photo courtesy of Yaffa Today)
Dozens of police arrived to close streets as the demonstrators defied orders to stop. They managed to break through a police line and some sat on the street in front of their homes, refusing to leave, reported Maan News.
American-Israeli journalist Mya Guarnieri told Ma'an that a few dozen Israelis had joined the counter protest and were chanting, "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
"There have always been Jews and Arabs together in Jaffa, in coexistence and with mutual respect," Tel Aviv councilman Ahmed Mashharawi said on Wednesday. "These people's march reveals their true ugly face. As long as they don’t harm the routine of the residents, we won't allow them the pleasure of receiving a headline on our account."
In January, Muslim and Christian Palestinians and progressive Israeli activists carried flags and banners in a Jaffa demonstration, as they marched from the Peres Center for Peace to Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood, where a 20-unit housing project for religious Jews only is being constructed.
More than 1,000 Jaffa residents participated in the protest against the settlement. The historic Ajami neighborhood is a mixed community with both Palestinian and Jewish residents. In 2009 a “hesder yeshiva,” a special school that combines religious studies and military service, was established in Ajami for young Jewish men.
“In their point of view, the solution for mixed cities in Israel, those that have Jewish and Arab populations living together, is separation,” said Sami Abu Shahadeh, a resident of Ajami and member of the Popular Committee for Housing Rights in Israel, referencing the Israeli position and certainly that of those attending Wednesday’s march.