Clashes were reported in Jaffa city, on Wednesday evening, as a group of extremist Israeli settlers and fundamentalist right-wing leaders and members, marched in the city demanding the Jaffa to be “An Arab Free Zone”.
Fundamentalist Member of Knesset, member of the National Union Party, Michael Ben-Ari, organized the protest along with right-wing fundamentalists Itamar Ben Gvir and Baruch Marzel. They claimed that the protest comes “to stop the Islamic Movement from controlling Jaffa”.
Israeli left-wing activities, Arab residents and leaders participated in the protest against the settlers provocative procession.
According to Israeli daily, Haaretz, the Tel Aviv – Jaffa City Council announced recently a plan to build affordable units for Arab resident in Jaffa.
Haaretz added that Tel Aviv City Council member, Ahmad Mash-Harawi, stated Wednesday, that Jews and Arabs have lived in Jaffa in peace and mutual respect, while the settlers procession reveals the real intentions of the settlement movement.
Jaffa resident Mohammad al-Ashqar, head of the al-Aqsa Waqf and Heritage Foundation, stated that strike was declared in the city to protest the provocative march of the settlers.
Al-Ashqar added that the local residents took to the streets during early morning hours to intercept the procession and to send a message to the extremists that Jaffa is an Arab and a Palestinian city.
He also stated that the protest was popular in nature and was not organized by any specific group as it was held to peacefully counter the provocative march of the settlers headed by extremist settler-leader Baroch Merzil.
Merzil is an extremist settler-leader who want to “ensure the country is an Arab-Free Zone”. He stated during the procession that “he came to Jaffa to force the Arabs out”.
At least 1000 policemen were deployed in Jaffa to protect the settlers who gathered at a main junction to initiate their protest.
On his part, Al Ashqar said that the Arab youths and residents took to the streets to send a clear message to the fundamentalist settlers that they are not welcome in the city.
The police used excessive force against the Arab protesters, wounding ten and detaining20 others, who were released later on after the marchers vowed to remain in the streets until all detained residents werereleased.
In the West Bank, extremist settlers stated that they are planning to stage demonstrations on Thursday to protest Israel’s evacuation of the illegal Havat Gilad settlement outpost in the West Bank.
The settlers did not specify details on their planned protests, but stated that the activities will be in different parts of the territories and would include blocking roads.
During the evacuation of the illegal outpost on Monday, settlers hurled stones at Israeli soldiers and policemen who fired rubber-coated metal bullets and used paintball guns.
Haaretz said that the settlers claimed that 13 persons were wounded by rubber-bullets during the evacuation, and that eight settlers were detained.