Tuesday, February 10, 2009
When Arabs Attack . . . MK Eldad Stays at Umm El-Fahm Polling Station Only One Hour
This was expected, and clearly a campaign stunt for the National Union, but it does underline the problem of Arabs who believe that they are entitled to citizenship and voting rights without recognition of the government of Israel.
MK Eldad Leaves Umm El-Fahm as Arabs Attack
by Gil Ronen and Hana Levi Julian
(IsraelNN.com) MK Aryeh Eldad (Ichud Leumi/National Union) left Umm El-Fahm after an Arab mob began rioting and threatening him. Rocks were thrown at security forces, and shouts of "Death to the Jews!" could be heard. However, Eldad's spokeswoman Na'ama Cohen denied that Eldad left because of Arab rioting.
She said that Eldad had not planned to spend the entire day at Umm El-Fahm and that he decided to leave for other polling stations after sitting at the Umm El-Fahm station for about an hour. She said police had provided excellent protection and were not at fault.
MK Eldad claimed that the event was a victory for the National Union. "We proved to the Arab public that Umm El-Fahm, too, is part of the Land of Israel. There was no surrender to the Arabs." Eldad said he had coordinated with the police in advance that he would only remain at the polling station for one hour.
Eldad had entered the Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahm in the middle of Tuesday morning to act as chairman of the election committee at Polling Place #12 in the city's Arzi neighborhood. Eldad replaced Baruch Marzel, the Land of Israel activist who was prevented by police from entering the city because of threats on his life. Eldad told Ynet, "I definitely do not fear for my life."
Eldad came to Umm el-Fahm in a police car, amid a heavy police presence. Referring to the police protection he received and the police refusal to allow Marzel into Umm el-Fahm and the protection, Eldad said, "I could not believe that the State of Israel would give in to terror and I'm glad to see that this did not happen. I have immunity and the police department is doing its job, at least for me."
The voters at Polling Station 12 underwent bodily security checks before entering the booth in order to protect Eldad from possible attack.
In response to the police decision to block Marzel from entering the city and carrying out his duty, MK Eldad said: "The Israel Police, apparently at [Attorney General Menachem] Mazuz's instructions, surrendered this morning to the Arab terror of Israel's enemies from within. The State of Israel has announced openly that it surrenders to violence, blackmail and treachery from the Arab sector." MK Eldad said the polls in Umm el-Fahm should be closed for fear of election fraud.
Leaders of the Ichud Leumi (National Union) party called on Tuesday for polls in the Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahm to be closed and votes from their invalidated, following the police decision to bar Marzel from carrying out his duties as election monitor there. Party chairman Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz said his party would demand the invalidation of votes from unmonitored polling places, calling the police decision a "surrender to terror".
The Commander of the Police's Amakim Region, Brig-Gen.Zohar Dvir, met Land of Israel activist Baruch Marzel at Barka'I Junction on Highway 65 and handed him an official letter announcing he could not enter Umm El Fahm. Police said the decision was "based upon intelligence reports of a serious danger to the public safety and in order to make it possible to hold elections properly and without disorder."
'Black day for democracy'
Marzel, whose faction is part of the Ichud Leumi (National Union) party, said that the decision made this day "a black day for democracy." Israeli police, he added, "are surrendering to a bunch of thugs. Today provided proof that the police do not control the Northern District. This is a shame and a disgrace." Marzel added that he would decide on legal steps as soon as he was officially informed of the police announcement.
The police said they had intelligence of concrete plans to harm Marzel if he entered the city. Dozens of Arabs gathered at the entrance to the city from the early morning hours in order to block Marzel. They were joined by MK Muhammad Barakeh of the Communist Hadash party. A sizeable police contingent headed by the Commander of the Police's Northern District, Brig-Gen Shimon Koren was also on hand.
The Arabs, who were led by members of Umm El-Fahm's municipality, inspected "suspicious" cars at the entrance to the city and a confrontation occurred when a car carrying religious Jewish ballot booth inspectors tried to enter. Police did not enable the Jews to enter and carry out their duty but rather whisked them away to the nearby police station.
Arab Ra'am Ta'al Party Sends Rep to Beit El
The Arab Ra'am Ta'al party, meanwhile, sent its own representative, as planned, to monitor the national elections in the Samarian Jewish community of Beit El.
Ra'am Ta'al MK Ahmed Tibi had previously vowed that the party would not send a representative because it does not recognize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Israel National News, which is based in Beit El, notes that the representative is a Jewish member of the party, and not an Arab.