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Rightists march in Jaffa and go on the attack in the West Bank

Right wing agitators led by Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) marched through Jaffa this morning in an act of provocation supported by 1000 police and border police officers. Almost at the same time, settlers attacked Israeli soldiers near the outpost of Havat Gilad as the outpost was being destroyed. Why the sudden spike in settler violence and provocation?

Police and Palestinians in Jaffa today. Photo: Oren Ziv/activestills.org

Police and Palestinians in Jaffa today. Photo: Oren Ziv/activestills.org

Right wing activists including Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir marched through Jaffa. The purpose of the march, according to MK Michael Ben-Ari, was to remind residents that the city is part of Israel and against the Islamic movement’s January march in the city. Unlike the Palestinian march, 15 people were arrested and one border police officer was injured amid violent clashes.

As the march was creating headaches for Israeli police in Jaffa, settlers were attacking Israeli soldiers near the outpost of Havat Gilad. Israeli soldiers, on orders to remove the settlers from the illegal outpost, were attacked with stones and responded by shooting plastic bullets. MK Michael Ben-Ari denied claims that the soldiers had thrown stones on Reshet Bet (HEB). He said that no photographic evidence is available and so the event did not happen. Sadly, this line of defense will likely hold up if any criminal case is opened against the settlers.

Why have Israeli authorities, out of nowhere, decided to ‘destroy’ an outpost that was known to be populated by extremist and violent settlers? A violent cocktail of attacks against Palestinians (so called “price tag” attacks) and extremist rhetoric against the state is an absolute certainty when destroying an outpost like Havat Gilad. Why unleash this now?

The historic developments in Egypt might be one motivation. Recently, a number of events taking place in Egypt have been given little media attention in Israel. The Rafeh border between Gaza and Egypt has remained open since Mubarak has stepped down, Iranian ships have crossed the Suez canal for the first time since 1979 and the north Sinai gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel –which was destroyed weeks ago– has not resumed gas transfer between the two countries. Aside from the Iranian ship story, the events have not been given prominent attention in Israeli media and press.

Unleashing the convenient right wing settler animal through the destruction of extremist outposts in the West Bank is a great way to ensure that the public will focus on internal instead pf external political matters. Allowing a provocative settler march to take place in the heart of Jaffa’s gentrified areas is another brilliant way to clog the headlines with stories that have nothing to do with Egypt or the Arab world. Perhaps this is all a coincidence but it seems unlikely. While the Israeli government does not usually make wise decisions, it does not make haphazard ones.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Kibbutznik

      ” Right wing agitators led by Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) marched through Jaffa this morning in an act of provocation … ”
      Who best to answer this one than our very own Ben Israel , its his political party of choice after all , yet he remains silent while constantly belittling the Left .
      Why Joseph Dana , ??? , ” internal instead of external political matters ” the public can do both you know , my guess is that Barak is looking to his political future which is looking rather bleak at the moment . ;}

      Reply to Comment
    2. Joseph Dana

      Of course the public can do both. I meant that attention will shift and settler news will dominate the headlines of the news cycle while other matters will get buried or receive less airtime. I believe this trick is also used in the United States and throughout the Western world.

      Nice point that Ben Israel has remained quiet on this matter. What could he really say? I am sure that he feels that settlers have the right to attack soldiers as they see fit. And clearly, extreme right racists are entitled to march through Jaffa is an Israeli city. He will probably add some insult to the left as well decrying our attacks on the right as intolerance. What is said though is that Ben Israel’s rhetoric is a coherent version of the underlying racism of our society which is driven by liberal Zionist ideology. While he can written off as a right wing fanatic, the responsibility for his ideology of racism and ignorance lies in the hands of the society from which he came. In this upsetting way, we are all Ben Israel and change can only begin within ourselves.

      Best,
      Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    3. Kibbutznik

      ” What is said though is that Ben Israel’s rhetoric is a coherent version of the underlying racism of our society which is driven by liberal Zionist ideology. While he can written off as a right wing fanatic, the responsibility for his ideology of racism and ignorance lies in the hands of the society from which he came. In this upsetting way, we are all Ben Israel and change can only begin within ourselves. ”

      100% agree with you Joseph which is why I became a post-zionist and now totally reject liberal Zionist ideology and why I vote Hadash .
      ” lies in the hands of the society from which he came. ”
      He came from America same place where Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir got their ideology from , Kach , born and bred in America and imported to here .

      Reply to Comment
    4. Joseph Dana

      Post Zionism is another debate. I do not think that Ben Israel coming from America is the issue. His thinking is a product of Zionism and the drive for ethnic state for Jews. At this point I find that the settlers are the ultimate embodiment of Zionism. Liberal Zionists in other parts of the country, while they decry the racism of the settlers, send their children to humiliate and control Palestinians on a daily basis. This is what my last comment was driving at. We are Ben Israel in so far as we send our children to protect him and violate Palestinians in order for him to speak of Jewish strength and nationalism. We are the settlers and liberal zionism is the ideology which has allowed the settlers to become what they are today. In this sad way, the settlers are the least dangerous people in Israel. The liberals that live in North Tel Àviv or Nataf who vote for Meretz are the most dangerous because they try to rationalise using the language of liberalism what is basically racism in action. All the while, their children are somewhere in the West Bank committing crimes against a defenceless civilian population. I would take the absurd language of Ben Israel to that any day of the week!
      Best

      Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    5. Kibbutznik

      now that is where we disagree
      I’m no pacifist Joseph , this country would not last a month without the army .
      The way to change is though the ballot box , its the only option open to us , there will be no revolution or no civil war here .
      You want to fight the Right , vote against them .

      Reply to Comment
    6. DT

      This article is dishonest.

      1) First of all, it is stated that “Unlike the Palestinian march, 15 people were arrested and one border police officer was injured amid violent clashes” and one police officer was injured. However, the article fails to mention that all those arrested were actually leftist counter-demonstrators. The police officer was injured by a left-wing counter-demonstrator throwing rocks at the police. The rightists were peaceful. It is totally dishonest to say that the protesters were “causing headaches” when leftists had actually been the violent ones.

      2) Secondly, the article describes the protest as an “act of provocation”. However, it is the right of citizens to stage protests in any democratic system, in any city. This publication does not call leftist demonstrators a ‘provocation’. A gay rights march or pro-Palestinian march in Jerusalem is not considered a ‘provocation’ but a right wing march is. The author is just using rhetoric to demean protesters who disagree with him, when in fact a protest – whatever agenda it promotes – is perfectly acceptable and not inherently a provocation.

      Reply to Comment
      • Actually the article is honest. I do not label which type of protesters were arrested. instead I draw a contrast between the Palestinian protest which featured no arrests and the Rightist one which had 15 arrests. I also include a link to a report detailing the demonstration.

        In terms of your second point, I would like to draw your attention to the following quote about the demonstration taken from the above mentioned article. “There have always been Jews and Arabs together in Jaffa, in coexistence and with mutual respect,” Tel Aviv councilman Ahmed Mashharawi said on Wednesday. “These people’s march reveals their true ugly face. As long as they don’t harm the routine of the residents, we won’t allow them the pleasure of receiving a headline on our account”

        Reply to Comment
    7. Jack

      Joseph – I salute you for being honest and upfront about your political beliefs. You are an anti-Zionist who believes that millions of Palestinian refugees (and their children and grandchildren) from around the world should have the right to return to what is today Israel and that Israel will then be transformed into an Arab state of Palestine, with perhaps a 30% Jewish minority.

      While I believe that upwards of 90% of Jewish Israelis vehemently disagree with your beliefs and find them unfathomable, I can definitely respect the fact that you are fighting for what you believe in.

      Reply to Comment
      • Thanks for the comment Jack. I have never stated anything about being an anti-Zionist. I think that it is tellingly that my comments on the nature the right in Israel and the problems that we are facing with the occupation lead you to label me in an effort to discredit what should be an integral part of the conversation. I have also never written anything about the Palestinian right of return and yet you find it necessary to label my views on the issue.

        One wonders how my comments regarding the nature of the right in Israel and Liberal Zionist responsibility in that has lead you to the Palestinian right of return. Perhaps staying on track with the conversation topic at hand would serve the discussion for the better.
        Best

        Joseph

        Reply to Comment
    8. Jack

      Kibbutznik – I think that is Joseph’s whole point – he does not want “this country (Israel)” to last. He believes in a one-state solution with all Palestinian refugees being able to return to Israel. The BDS movement which he subscribes to is very clear about this point. Effectively, this means that him and his colleagues are fighting to turn what is today Israel into an Arab state of Palestine which will then have a minority community of formerly Israeli Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Jack,
      As a citizen of Israel who lives in the country with no prospect or timetable on leaving, I take offense to your aggressive labeling. I have written about ending the occupation through nonviolence for the benefit of all living here, myself included. I have agreed that a one state solution should be discussed but I have never publicly supported a one or two state solution. I think that BDS has the potential to change the situation on the ground for the better and as an Israeli Jewish citizen I have signed letters supporting certain boycotts. I understand that these acts make little sense to you but instead of attacking my character and allegiance to the country perhaps you should challenge yourself to open your mind.

      Kibbutznik: I never said anything about disbanding the army. I am not sure why you are jumping to conclusions and literally putting words in my mouth. This seems to be a theme among commenters, perhaps it is a good idea to reread the material and then start discussing.

      Best

      Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    10. Jack

      Joseph – I apologize for labeling you an anti-Zionist. I was jumping to a conclusion perhaps wrongly since there are in fact forms of Zionism which do not require Jewish political power (Judah Magnes Zionism). I assumed though since you based many of Israel’s issues on “Zionism.”

      I assumed you supported the Palestinian right of return to Israel based on the BDS call that you have given your signature to which states as its third demand:

      3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

      I believe that this is a big sticking point for many Jews that you call to join you in supporting the BDS call. There are probably many like Kibbutznik who support completely ending the occupation and full civil rights for Arabs in Israel (the first two demands of BDS movement) – but who draw a red line at allowing millions of children of Palestinian refugees to become citizens of Israel who will then undoubtedly transform what today people know of as “Israel” into “Greater Palestine.” I think if this demand were not included in BDS call – you will indeed find many willing to support the Palestinian nonviolent movement.

      But you are correct all this is certainly off topic for your post.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Jack

      It is indeed a complicated issue as I will concede that many of these refugees are in dire circumstances. Perhaps there are really no right or wrong answers but I salute you for having the courage to think about them and write about them and go against the grain of Israeli society to fight for the ideals you believe in.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jack,
      Thank you for correcting your claim. The BDS debate is certainly the most controversial that we are dealing with. I suggest that you join the debate about BDS on some of my other posts including “who is afraid of BDS?” which started a long conversation thread.

      Best
      Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    13. Ben Israel

      Joseph-You are a mind reader. You know every single thing I think. Tell me, what did I have for breakfast today?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Ben Israel-
      Eggs and Salad? Just kidding. I was using you as an example of a certain strain of thought in our society. I apologize if that upset. It is just that your comments tend to follow a specific line (just like mine on the opposite side).Hope it did not bother you.

      Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    15. Ben Israel

      Joseph wrote:
      ———————————————
      Jack,
      As a citizen of Israel who lives in the country with no prospect or timetable on leaving, I take offense to your aggressive labeling.
      ———————————————–

      Joseph, I suggest you look in the mirror. You gave a whole rundown on positions you ASSUME I take without knowing anything about what I really think about these matters, and then you moan about somebody else’s “agressive labelling” about you!

      Reply to Comment
    16. Stan

      Language is important when writing an article. When you write “an act of provocation supported by 1000 police and border police officers”, it implys that the police SUPPORTED this march. They didn’t, they were there to SECURE the march and ensure that things did not get violent. Yes their presence enabled the march to happen, but the court approved the march and from that point on it’s the police responsibility to keep the peace. It’s not up to each police officer to decide not to take part.

      Your wording implies some sort of wrongdoing here on the part of the police.

      Often times your posts use problematic language that cross the line from journalism/reporting to opinion, dogma, and polemic.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Ben Israel,

      The point is taken although I feel that I would be able to back up my argument using the comments that you have written on this site.

      Jack, labeled me “anti-Zionist” and an advocate of the right of return for Palestinian when I have not written that confirms these positions.

      I hope you understand this point.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Stan,

      I do believe that the police supported this act of provocation and I stand by my accusations of their culpability in the current climate of extreme manifestations of racist thought and attacks in Israel.

      Best

      Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    19. Ben Israel

      For the record, yes I support the settlements.
      I am absolutely convinced that giving up the settlements would not bring peace but would bring war, as was the case with Gush Katif.
      I strongly oppose the division of Jerusalem which must remain under Israeli control. I am absolutely convinced that dividing the city would bring about the DESTRUCTION of the city where it would become a permanent shooting gallery and it would end up the way it was between 1948 and 1967. There is no question the large majority of Israeli and majority of east Jerusalem Arabs agree with me.
      The only way I would support a Palestinian state is on condition that there be some sort of confederation which would allow Jews and Arabs to live on both sides of the border while being allowed to choose the country they wish to be citizens in and people would have the ability to cross the border on a daily basis to work. This would apply to Jerusalem as well.
      I strongly oppose attacks on soldiers. I strongly oppose “price tag” attacks on Palestinians or their property. Those who do these things should be arrested and jailed.
      Regarding the march in Yafo, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I don’t like to see disorder. On the other hand, if Arabs can march through the city yelling “Death to the Jews” while carrying Palestinian flags (as was reported here at 972), then Jews have the right to march with Israeli flags. As I understand, they did NOT yell counterslogans of the same type.

      I particularly am amused by Kibbutznik’s ideas of collective guilt…i.e. Jews who come from America are all fanatics and are not “really” Israelis, unlike Polish immigrants Shimon Peres or Moroccan immigrants who are “really Israelis”.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Kibbutznik

      ” Kibbutznik: I never said anything about disbanding the army. I am not sure why you are jumping to conclusions and literally putting words in my mouth. This seems to be a theme among commenters, perhaps it is a good idea to reread the material and then start discussing. ”

      My apologies Joseph , its a very sensitive subject and I get anti-Zionist and anti-Army thrown at me to when in fact I am neither .
      I reread what you posted about Meretz voters and I get it now , hard to accept but true , I and my kibbutz voted meretz for years all the while our children were somewhere in the West Bank .

      Reply to Comment
      • I have voted Meretz in the past as well. I am not saying that the party needs to be dismantled or they hold all the responsibility in this mess. My point is that our use of liberalism does incredible damage and helps to continue the occupation. This is one reason why BDS is becoming so effective; because it address the role of liberal Zionists in the occupation. It is the elite, the liberal elite with an eye towards the West, which hold an incredible amount of responsibility for where we are now. Giving the occupation a liberal face and casting off those ‘crazy settlers’ does not wash away responsibility.

        Best
        Joseph

        Reply to Comment
    21. Kibbutznik

      ” I strongly oppose attacks on soldiers. I strongly oppose “price tag” attacks on Palestinians or their property. Those who do these things should be arrested and jailed. ”
      Refreshing Ben Israel but good to hear never the less .
      BTW I dont think ” Jews who come from America are all fanatics ” there are many Centre/Left wing Americans who live here , its those like Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Goldstein and their friends in Hevron and Tapuach and other Kach strongholds I was referring to .

      Reply to Comment
    22. Kibbutznik

      ” Giving the occupation a liberal face and casting off those ‘crazy settlers’ does not wash away responsibility. ”

      Agreed .

      Reply to Comment
    23. It is interesting that my recent post http://972mag.com/west-bank-wind-of-change/

      Did not get any attention from the commentators on this thread. I find the subject to be part and parcel of the discussion we are having on this thread about Zionism, democracy and the Jewish state.

      Best

      Joseph

      Reply to Comment
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