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Violence grows in Arab town during right-wing Israeli march

From Kevin Flower, CNN
Arab-Israelis and Israeli riot police clash in Umm Al-Fahm, on October 27, 2010.
Arab-Israelis and Israeli riot police clash in Umm Al-Fahm, on October 27, 2010.
  • Stone throwing, tear gas and rubber bullets are seen during the demonstration
  • The activists call for the outlaw of the Islamic Movement in Israel
  • Kahane started a party that called for expulsion of Palestinians from Israel
  • Islamic Movement: This march is a provocative march
  • Israel

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Palestinian residents of Israel threw stones and police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them Wednesday as right-wing Israeli activists marched in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm.

Several hundred police officers were deployed in northern Israel ahead of the march, according to police.

The activists, led by Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir, are marching to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the murder of the radical Rabbi Meir Kahane and to call for the outlaw of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

Ben Gvir shouted into a megaphone, "We demand to outlaw the Islamic Movement. Only in Israel can Raed Salah [leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement] come and say that Israel needs to be erased ... and nothing is done to stop it. We demand that those who are responsible outlaw the Islamic Movement. Our message is to treat the Islamic Movement with a tough hand."

Police had denied requests for the right-wing activists to hold the protest, citing security concerns. But an Israeli court overruled, saying the march could take place.

"This march is a provocative march," Hasan Sanallah of the Islamic Movement told CNN. "This is a march for inciting violence. They are coming here to show that the Arab minorities in Israel are barbaric, and we want to prove them the other way."

Sanallah described the activists as "trying to incite violence in Arab towns."

Kahane was an Israeli-American rabbi who founded the Jewish Defense League. He started a political party called Kach, which advocated the imposition of Jewish law in Israel and the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel.

The Israeli government banned Kach in 1988 for inciting racism.

Kahane was murdered in 1990 in New York by El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian-American terrorist convicted of involvement in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

A similar right-wing march took place in Umm al-Fahm in March 2009 and led to clashes between Palestinian Arab residents of the town and Israeli security personnel.

About 100 far-rightists marched in the predominantly Muslim town, and Arab demonstrations that erupted after the march left dozens of people injured and at least 10 people detained, police said at the time.

Marchers disseminated a particularly hot-button message in Umm al-Fahm that had been setting people off: They demanded that Israeli Arabs be loyal to the Jewish state, a stance considered insulting by many Israeli Arabs.

About 20 percent of Israel's population is comprised of Arabs.

CNN's Shira Medding, Kareem Khadder and Ben Wedeman contributed to this report.