Right-Wing Israelis, Arab Protestors Clash In Umm al-Fahm
Right-wing Israeli activists marched against the Islamic Movement of Israel in the town of Umm al-Fahm today, resulting in clashes between Arab protestors and Israeli police forces in the area.
Ten Arab demonstrators were arrested and 15 were injured, two of whom are members of the Knesset. No Our Land of Israel protesters were arrested.
Plainclothes police were seen amongst the protesters with handguns firing live rounds. However, Israel police deny the claim, saying live rounds were not used to quell the protest.
"Soft balls were used, which in fact only cause minimum amount of damage and no one was injured seriously, in terms of those causing the riots," said Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesperson for the Israeli police.
Right-wing Israeli activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir led the group of nearly 30 demonstrators to Umm al-Fahm on Wednesday morning. The protestors, who traveled from Jerusalem via bus, are calling for the Islamic Movement to be outlawed in Israel.
"I don't understand why, when Peace Now comes to demonstrate at my house in Hebron, it's for the glory of freedom of expression, but when we want to fulfill our legitimate right, suddenly it's a provocation," Ben-Gvir told Haaretz.com. "We will teach the left what democracy is and we will demand: Outlaw the Islamic Movement."
Umm al-Fahm is a predominantly Arab town of 43,000 located in Northern Israel in the Haifa District.
Police have anticipated that tensions between both sides would erupt for months. In anticipation of the protests, hundreds of riot police and helicopters were deployed Tuesday.