Israelis protest over 'fascist' Jerusalem settlements

Demonstrations against evictions of Palestinians to make way for Jewish settlers

At least 15 protesters were arrested yesterday as several hundred left-wing Israelis held their biggest demonstration yet against demolitions and evictions of east Jerusalem Palestinians designed to make way for Jewish settlers.

Police moved in to force back the noisy but largely peaceful protest in Sheikh Jarrah, the inner-city district that has rapidly become the main flashpoint of the struggle to prevent further government and local authority-approved inroads by settler groups in the city.

Organisers of the demonstration, which had been kept behind a police cordon at the entrance to one of the neighbourhood's residential streets, said that two Palestinians had been injured by stone-throwing settlers further along the road and beyond the barrier.

Continued settlement in the inner districts of east Jerusalem is regarded by the moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a central obstacle to resuming negotiations with Israel. Mr Abbas resisted fresh pressure to re-enter the talks during a three-hour meeting yesterday with US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell.

Israel insists it annexed the eastern Arab sector of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967, but this is rejected by most of the international community who see it as the capital of a future Palestinian state. According to UN figures, 194 people were forcibly displaced from their homes in east Jerusalem by evictions and demolitions in the first half of 2009 alone.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau has repeatedly – most recently when he talked to foreign journalists this week – insisted that he has no intention of halting settlement in east Jerusalem.

Yesterday's protest, the sixth of what has become a regular weekly event, was joined by prominent figures on the Israeli left, including Yossi Sarid, former leader of Meretz, and a prominent Haaretz columnist; Avraham Burg, a former Knesset speaker; the veteran human rights and political campaigner Uri Avnery; and Yariv Oppenheimer, former director of Peace Now.

Brandishing banners linking Jewish settlement with apartheid, some of the demonstrators chanted slogans like "No, no, fascism will not pass", "Don't despair Sheikh Jarrah, we will end the occupation" and "One two three four Occupation no more/five six seven eight, Israel is a fascist state."

While local Palestinian residents were largely absent from the protest, one Israeli demonstrator hoisted on to his shoulder a small Palestinian boy who had been watching the protest so that he could lead the crowd in an Arabic chant of "Sheikh Jarrah for the Palestinians; evacuate the settlers."

Arab Knesset member Mohammed Barakeh told the crowd: "The issue isn't about a house here and a neighbourhood there, but about the intention to empty Jerusalem of its Arab citizens. This is a crime against the Arab population and a crime against the peace process."

Mr Sarid said recent pessimistic remarks by Barack Obama about the prospects for a breakthrough had deepened his "disappointment" with the US and Europe for not doing more to end the conflict. "Without determined and active involvement of a third party there is not going to be a breakthrough," he said. "And without a breakthrough there will be another wave of bloodshed."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?