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Nationalist Protesters: Netanyahu Is Not Mitchell’s Clerk

Nationalist activists Marzel and Ben-Gvir proclaim, “We have sovereignty over Jerusalem. Bibi should understand he is not Mitchell’s clerk.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 4/25/2010, 11:15 AM / Last Update: 4/25/2010, 11:26 AM

Nationalist activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir proclaimed at the end of their hour-long march in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem Sunday, “We have made it clear today who has sovereignty over Jerusalem.”

They added, “The time has come that Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] understand that he is not clerk of [U.S. Middle East envoy George] Mitchell," who spoke with the Prime Minister Sunday morning and will sit down a second time with him in the afternoon.

The activists also called on Israel to apply the law to Silwan’s Arab residents and destroy houses that have been illegally built without permits, similar to moves taken against theJewish residence of Beit Yehonatan. The top two floors of the building are to be demolished because they were added without a permit.

Dozens of masked Arabs Sunday morning burned tires and hurled rocks, stones and two firebombs at hundreds of policemen deployed to protest the nationalist marchers in the Silwan neighborhood, across the road from the Western Wall plaza and Temple Mount compound.

Two policemen were lightly injured by Arab protesters, and Palestinian Authority media reported that five Arabs were wounded by rubber bullets fired by police. One leftist was arrested after pouring water on the Jewish marcher, who also endured curses by Arabs and leftists.

Police spokesman termed the situation as “relative quiet” as Ben-Gvir and Marzel led the march on a route of approximately 2,500 feet from the City of David neighborhood to the Silwan area. The controversial Jewish-owned Beit Yehonatan apartment building is located in Silwan, and its residents campaigned against the demonstration in support of a Jewish presence in the neighborhood.

In an official statement, they criticized “attempts by extremists on the left and right to cause provocations and to bring about deterioration in sensitive relationships in Silwan.” In this case, the Elad organization, the Jewish organization which develops the City of David, also opposed the rally.

The office of the Attorney-General Saturday night rejected an appeal by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to postpone the demonstration. Netanyahu did so on the grounds it would cause violence and embarrass Israel on the eve of the prime minister's meeting with visiting U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.