Arabs rightly condemn far-right march - GulfToday

Arabs rightly condemn far-right march

Israeli citizens take part in a flag march in the vicinity of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli citizens take part in a flag march in the vicinity of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE, the Arab League, Egypt, Kuwait condemned the Israeli far-right flag march in East Jerusalem and in the precincts of the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third Holiest Shrine of the Muslims on Sunday. The Secretary-General of the GCC, Dr Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, was responding to the march of thousands of ultra-nationalists in East Jerusalem, chanting ‘‘Death to Arabs’’ Al Hajraf emphasised the need for Israel to respect the historical, legal and religious situation in Jerusalem, and said that the march was a flagrant violation and provocation. He said that Israel as an occupying power bound to abide by international humanitarian law. He has also asked the international community to assume responsibility for the safety of Al Aqsa Mosque. Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Gheit said the march was “a new violation of the status quo and represented a major provocation to the feelings of the Arab and Islamic nations.” Kuwait’s foreign ministry issued a statement that the development will lead to repercussions and confrontation based on religion. It called on the United Nations Security Council act on the violations and compel Israeli forces to respect international law. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ambassador Ahmed Hafez said Al Aqsa Mosque was “a purely Islamic endowment for Muslims, and the need to stop any violations targeting Arab, Islamic, Christian identity of the city of Jerusalem and all its sanctities, as well as changing the existing historical and legal situation.” He asked the Israeli authorities “to assume their responsibility in accordance with the rules of international law and to intervene immediately to stop these provocative practices.”

The Sunday flag marches with their provocative sloganeering, ended on a relatively quiet note. Meanwhile, Israel Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday that the issue of designating La Familia and Lehava be deemed as terrorist organisations. La Familia is a far right soccer fan club and Lehava is a Jewish supremacist group, whose members participated in the Sunday flag march and were involved in the clashes in East Jerusalem. Gantz said, “As defence minister, I believe that the time has come to consider defining organisations such as La Familia and Lehava as terrorist organisations, and I know that the issue is at the doorstep of the defence organisations and trust that the heads of the organisations will do the examination in the cleanest and best way.” Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev also called for the ban of these organisations, and said “even before I became a minister I turned to the attorney-general with the aim of examining the possibility of outlawing La Familia and Lehava.” Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh, while demanding the ban of these organisations in his letter to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara on Monday, also tweeted saying, “The government of change is the one that permitted the “death to Arabs” march of Lehava and La Familia. If Lapid and Gantz are really against Kahanists, they should declare Lehava and La Familia as terrorist organisations. Less condemnations and more action.”

The liberal and moderate voices in Israel are in a minority and many of them become part of the government because of the fractious nature of Israeli politics where no government can be formed without coalitions involving people holding opposed views. While the sane voices are often clear, what will prevail is American pressure. Even the European countries have failed to convince Israeli government to rein in the hardliners.  But American politicians, whether Republican or Democrat, in the Congress or in the Senate, have been under the pressure of American Jewish lobbies and they have not been able to do much to make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

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