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Zionists to March in Rahat

Southern police chief gives permission for Zionist activists to hold a march in the Bedouin city of Rahat.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/23/2009, 7:13 PM

(file)

Southern District Police Commander Yochanan Danino announced Thursday that Zionist activists will be allowed to parade in the Bedouin city of Rahat. The march is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

The parade was the brainchild of Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Jewish National Front. Marzel and Ben-Gvir, both well-known Land of Israel activists, plan to document illegal building while in the city on Sunday.

Danino has a policy of allowing any demonstration that does not disturb the peace or pose a threat to public safety. The Zionist rally will be allowed on those grounds, he said. However, only a small group will be allowed to march, and police will plan the marchers' route through the city.

Residents of Bedouin and other members of the Bedouin community have requested permission to hold a counter-protest at the same time and place.Danino warned that police would act quickly against any attempts by either side to incite or cause a provocation during the rally.

Rahat city leaders said they oppose the march, but respect Danino's decision. “We're opposed to the march in principle, but legally, every resident of the state of Israel has the right to go where he pleases,” one explained.

"If Baruch Marzel were really interested in the historic development of the Bedouin community, he could come and we would greet him pleasantly. But we know that he only came to provoke,” the official continued. He added that he expects counter-protests on Sunday, but no major disturbances.

In March, Marzel and Ben-Gvir organized a rally in the Arab-Israeli city of Umm el-Fahm. Many residents reacted with violence, throwing rocks at the Jewish marchers, who bore Israeli flags.

More than 2,400 police officers protected the small group of Land of Israel marchers, and none were hurt. Sixteen officers were lightly injured.