Police halt Israeli Arab rally against Gaza op, arrest 2 at T.A. protest
Higher Arab Monitoring Committee: Only way do deal with Israeli offensive is through genuine Palestinian unity.
Police Sunday broke up a demonstration in the Israel Arab village of Wadi Ara protesting the ongoing Israel Defense Forces offensive in Gaza. The rally was organized by Israeli Arab party Ra'am-Ta'al and was one of three such protests scheduled for Sunday.
Later Sunday, Police arrested two protesters who participated in a demonstration outside IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.
The demonstration was organized by members of Hadash party and other leftist groups calling for the immediate cessation of IDF operations in the Gaza Strip.
Other demonstrations against the killing of Palestinian civilians were scheduled to take place Sunday at central junctions in Israel, and in Arab towns.
Arab parties are scheduled to hold a demonstration in Umm al-Fahm on Tuesday.
The decision to organize the protests was made during a Higher Arab Monitoring Committee emergency session attended by representatives from all of Israel's Arab parties, and the majority of Arab MKs.
During the meeting, the committee also addressed the issue of the division within the Palestinian people and decided to formulate a proposal for Palestinian national unity. "Israel is taking advantage of the internal Palestinian schisms between the various Palestinian factions," said committee chairman Shawki Khatib. "The Only way do deal with the Israeli offensive is through genuine Palestinian unity. Our job, as a part of the Palestinian nation that has a clear opinion in the matter, is to help our people deal with existential challenges."
The Arab MKs also criticized the "Ramallah government." Balad MK Jamal Zahalka said that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas must decide whether he is the president of the entire Palestinian people, or only Ramallah.
The committee also addressed the Arab world's silence in face of violence in Gaza. Hadash Chairman MK Mohammed Barakeh and Sheikh Raed Salah, head of Israel's northern Islamic Movement branch, called for Palestinian national unity. MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) noted that a mutual ceasefire must be demanded. "The Israeli refusal is the cause of the ongoing aggression against Gaza. Most of the fatalities are civilians; this is a war crime and a calculated move on the part of the IDF and the Israeli government."