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Israeli PM defends march marked by violence, racism

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JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday defended the choice to carry an annual march that celebrates Israel’s takeover of east Jerusalem and was marked by violence and anti-Palestinian racism.

Authorities referred to as up 1000’s of police, forcibly cleared out Palestinians and risked one other warfare with the Islamic militant group Hamas to make sure that tens of thousands of mostly right-wing Israelis might parade by a dense Palestinian neighborhood and lots of might go to a bitterly contested holy website.

Israel had modified the route on the final minute throughout final 12 months’s march, at a time of soaring tensions over violence on the holy website and makes an attempt by settlers to take away dozens of Palestinian households from their houses in east Jerusalem.

Hamas nonetheless fired rockets, and an 11-day Gaza warfare ensued.

Israel averted that situation this 12 months and allowed the parade to take its conventional route by the guts of the Muslim Quarter of the Outdated Metropolis.

However the march noticed Israeli nationalists chant racist slogans, together with “Loss of life to Arabs,” and assault Palestinians and journalists. Fights broke out alongside the route, as police primarily intervened to guard Jews and forcibly disperse Palestinians.

The Palestinian Purple Crescent rescue service mentioned 62 Palestinians have been wounded, together with 23 who wanted hospitalization. Israeli police mentioned they arrested over 60 suspects and that 5 officers have been wounded. The overwhelming majority of these arrested seem to have been Palestinians, although police refused to offer a breakdown.

Bennett praised the police’s dealing with of the occasion and mentioned Israel was obliged to carry the march within the face of threats by Hamas.

“If we hadn’t accomplished it alongside the common route, we’d – in impact – by no means return to it,” he mentioned. “This might have been a retreat on sovereignty.”

Bennett praised the marchers, saying that “aside from an extremist group, whom we are going to take care of to the fullest extent of the legislation, those that celebrated yesterday did so in a really particular, heart-lifting approach.”

Protection Minister Benny Gantz mentioned Israel would think about designating two far-right teams, La Familia and Lehava, as terrorist organizations. The previous is the notoriously racist fan club related to one among Israel’s hottest soccer groups, whereas the latter is linked to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, who peached a violent, anti-Arab ideology.

However right-wing views are way more widespread in Israeli society. A powerful majority of seats in Israel’s Knesset, or parliament, are held by right-wing events that help Jewish settlement within the occupied territories and are against Palestinian statehood, together with one led by a disciple of Kahane.

Proper-wing factions are break up over whether or not former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ought to return to workplace, and a few, together with Bennett’s Yamina, partnered with centrist and left-wing events final 12 months to kind a governing coalition and keep away from extra elections.

However the nationalist events within the coalition have gotten their approach on the subject of settlement expansion, acceptance of settler outposts and barring Israelis from extending citizenship and even residency to Palestinian spouses.

Bennett himself is against Palestinian statehood, however his authorities has accepted some steps to enhance financial circumstances for Palestinians.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, together with the Outdated Metropolis with its holy websites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, within the 1967 warfare, and annexed it in a transfer not acknowledged internationally. The Palestinians need east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.

Additionally on Sunday, Israel allowed lots of of principally nationalist and non secular Jews to go to the holy website that Jews discuss with because the Temple Mount and Muslims know because the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. The location, which is the holiest for Jews and the third holiest in Islam, has incessantly been the epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The Palestinians worry Israel plans to take over the positioning or partition it. Israel says it’s dedicated to a decades-old set of preparations generally known as the established order, underneath which Jews can go to the positioning however not pray there — however that rule has steadily eroded in recent times. A few of Sunday’s guests have been seen praying with little interference from police.

“Regardless of nice efforts by far-right activists, Sunday’s Flag March within the Outdated Metropolis of Jerusalem didn’t result in a serious conflagration between Israel and the Palestinians,” Amos Harel wrote in a column in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. “As an alternative, we witnessed the same old assortment of racist shows, violent scuffles between Jews and Arabs and a normal sense of revulsion.”

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