Palestinian protests move to Haifa

Updated 22 May 2018
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Palestinian protests move to Haifa

  • The 19 released had been protesting over the massacre that claimed the lives of dozens
  • The court in Haifa threw out police claims that protesters attacked officers

AMMAN: Nineteen Palestinian citizens of Israel were released on Monday after they were arrested during rare protests inside the country against the massacre in Gaza.

The protests in Haifa, the third largest city in Israel, which has a mixed Arab and Jewish population, started last week.

At a demonstration on Friday, witnesses said that police violently broke up the protesters, arresting 19 and breaking the leg of Jafar Farah, a prominent human rights researcher.

The protests were sparked by the killing of dozens of people in Gaza by Israeli forces last week. While Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank are common, it is much rarer for Palestinian citizens of Israel itself to come out and protest. Haifa has traditionally been held up as an example of peaceful coexistence.

Palestinian lawyers succeeded in getting the 19 arrested released early on Monday after marathon court sessions.

The court in Haifa threw out police claims that protesters attacked officers.

“We turned the courtroom into a space where police violence was exposed and rejected,” said Hassan Jabareen, a representative of the Adalah legal center for Arab rights.

Haifa sources told Arab News that the release of the protesters led to an increase in incidents of incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel, where many feel they are treated as second-class citizens.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, minister of internal security Gilad Erdan and the mayor of Haifa Yona Yaha all criticized the protests and the wider Arab population in Israel, calling them disloyal.

Johnny Mansour, historian and political science lecturer at Beit Beril University in Israel, said that the country’s leadership wanted to divert attention from their own problems and find a scapegoat.

“Now the Palestinian minority in Israel are the easiest target that they can attack,” he told Arab News.


Iran vows to keep military forces in Syria despite Israeli threats

Updated 17 January 2019
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Iran vows to keep military forces in Syria despite Israeli threats

  • Israel says it has carried out more than 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria in the last two years
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guards’ top commander called Israeli PM Netanyahu’s threats “a joke”

LONDON: Iran will keep military forces in Syria, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday, defying Israeli threats that they might be targeted if they do not leave the country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israeli forces would continue to attack Iranians in Syria and warned them “to get out of there fast, because we will continue with our resolute policy.”

Rebuffing the threats, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Revolutionary Guards’ top commander, was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will keep all its military and revolutionary advisers and its weapons in Syria.”

Jafari called Netanyahu’s threats “a joke,” and warned that the Israeli government “was playing with (a) lion’s tail.”

“You should be afraid of the day that our precision-guided missiles roar and fall on your head,” he said.

Iran and Russia have both backed Syria’s Bashar Assad in a seven-year war against opposition and militants, and have sent thousands of soldiers to the country.

Israel, increasingly concerned that its enemy Iran may establish a long-term military presence in neighboring Syria, says it has carried out more than 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria in the last two years.

Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israeli warplanes carried out an attack on what he called an Iranian arms cache in Syria.