Peace Now brought four buses of activists to Hevron for what it said would be a massive protest. Land of Israel activists came to disagree.

Ezra HaLevi,

Peace Now brought four buses of activists to Hevron for what it said would be a massive protest. Land of Israel activists came to disagree.

Peace Now, a left-wing group founded to bring about Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, but expanded to work toward a withdrawal from all areas won by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War held a protest in Hevron earlier this month. The protest, in the heart of the tiny Jewish quarter of the city, featured large signs demanding the Jews be barred from living in the city of the Patriarchs.

The 200 Peace Now protestors (the group claimed 300 came and state-run radio reported that as well - though only four 50-seater buses were brought) were ringed by heavy security as they delivered their message that the Jewish community in Hevron is a burden on Israel's security forces. The local community, by and large, chose to ignore the protest, saying the group's aim was to draw them into confrontations it could then use to justify Peace Now's provocations - but several activist groups from outside Hevron came to counter Peace Now's message.

Women in Green, Tzafrir Ronen's Nahalal Forum and Kumah all turned up with signs and activists to say that Jewish life in Hevron is a positive thing, which should be expanded and allowed to flourish. Peace Now protestors led chants like "We don't want to die in vain, make peace now!" and "Hevron settlers - a bone in the throat."

Women in Green's Nadia Matar pointed out that Peace Now is heavily funded by the same European Union that is soft on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."In any event, we didn't come here to stare at them." she said. "They are here to protest 40 years of 'occupation,' and we are here to celebrate our return to the Land of Israel."

Kim M., a student at a Christian university in Pennsylvania, observed the Peace Now protest from the side. "I've only been in Palestine for a few days," she said. "And I'm still trying to figure everything out." Kim wore a CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) hat; she was part of a tour organized by the radical Christian group. Other CPT members stood aside and opined that the Jewish Peace Now protestors still insist on occupying pre-1967 Israel as well, "stolen from the Palestinians in 1948."

Tzafrir Ronen, out of earshot in the spot designated for the counter-protest - said that similar protests were in fact heard prior to 1967 by the left, when the government wanted to expand the now-concensus Galilee city of Afula. He also blasted the journalists who had come on armored buses paid for by Peace Now.

The armored buses came in handy, as the left-wing protestors were targeted by Arab stone-throwers while leaving Hevron due to their yellow license plates identifying them as Israeli.

Peace Now told reporters that it thought the rocks may have been thrown by "settler youth," not Arabs.

Police and Yassam riot police are on hand to provide security for the Peace Now protest
The Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), which fled briefly after two of its members were killed during Muslim rioting against Danish cartoons of Mohammed, waits for the protest in a Muslim-owned store
IDF soldiers enjoy free pizza, paid for by "an American donor," they are told
Pro-Jewish Hevron demonstraters
Peace Now protesters hold signs saying 'Hevron Settlers - a Bone in the Throat' as IDF snipers keep watch overhead
Secular Zionist activist and former Labor Party member Tzafrir Ronen addresses the counter-protest
"Mom is Buried Here," says the Hebrew sign - a reference to the matriarchs Sara, Rebbeca and Leah
Several 'Women in Green' show up for the counter-protest
Nadia Matar, head of Women in Green, addresses the Peace Now protesters
"The Settlements are an Obstacle to Peace!"
Peace Now organizers claimed 300 protesters turned out - though they arrived on only four 50-seater buses

Racheli Merchav, from Tel Aviv, quotes Psalms and claims the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria have led the nation astray

One of the Peace Now organizers speaks with Russian-language TV
A Peace Now banner, ostensibly directed at the town's Jewish residents
A Peace Now activist who says this was his first time in Hevron. He expressed disappointment that Peace Now was not allowing participants to tour the Tomb of the Patriarchs
"Peace is better than the Greater Land of Israel"
Spanish CNN interviews Tzafrir Ronen
"The IDF bows to the settlers!!!"
"The Nation of Israel was Born Here"
Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher holds a sign reading: "Dad is Buried Here"
Anarchists protesting Jewish sovreignty
CPT tourist Kim stands aside watching the protest together with radicals from the Tel Reumeida Project who see the Peace Now rally as being 'too right-wing' in calling for two states instead of one 'Palestine'
Kach activist Noam Federman stands next to one of the signs he brought, calling Peace Now members 'traitors'
Dutch Christian tourists arrive to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs
Graffiti reads: "Smile - It's All For the Best"
(Photos: Josh Shamsi, Arutz-7 Photojournalist, Ezra HaLevi, Yishai Fleisher and Yechiel Stein)




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