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Palestinians protest razing of homes

Sharon Roffe-Ofir | YNet News

15 August 2009

A few hundred people gathered Saturday outside of Umm al-Fahm in order to protest the destruction of homes in Arab areas. Protestors blocked Highway 65 for a few minutes and then held a rally near a commercial center torn down a few weeks ago.

High Arab Monitoring Committee Chairman Mohammad Zeidan said during the rally that “you can’t throw a person into the sea and then tell him not to get wet; this is deliberate government policy”.

He added, “We cannot accept the fact that another 40,000 homes are still in danger of being destroyed.”

After the Arab town’s commercial center was destroyed the High Arab Monitoring Committee decided to hold a rally on the main road. However Northern District Police objected and the case was brought before the High Court of Justice, which ruled that the protestors would be permitted to cross the road.

Though police deployed 500 officers to the protest in anticipation of a riot, the events remained non-violent.

Umm al-Fahm councilman Raja Agbariyeh organized the rally. “We are protesting the destruction of homes,” he said. “For the 61 years Israel has existed it has refused to approve construction and development plans on one hand, and on the other continues to destroy homes. We will not agree to such a situation.”

After the rally, Zeidan told Ynet he intended to send a memo to Interior Minister Eli Yishai in which he would request the freezing of destruction orders and the legitimization of construction plans.