16 wounded when Arabs attack marching Jews

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Masses of rioting Arabs on Tuesday attacked a group of 100 Israeli Jews who marched on a main highway that runs through their northern Israel town of Umm el-Fahm carrying Israeli flags.

Sixteen people were wounded by the stone-throwing rioters during the course of the 30-minute march. Among the wounded were the deputy police chief of northern Israel and two other officers, an ultra-left wing Jewish Knesset member who had come in support of the Arabs, and a Russian television reporter.

Attacks on the 2,500 police officers deployed to secure the event persisted long after the march was over, forcing police to use water canons and other crowd control measures.

At least 19 of the rioters were arrested, including the head of the violent Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah. A right wing Israeli Knesset member who took part in the march noted that far more locals should have been arrested for flying Hamas flags from their windows - a violation of Israel's laws against supporting terrorist organizations.

Israel's Supreme Court approved the demonstration to preserve freedom of speech, after organizers complained that Israeli Arabs regularly demonstrate publicly on behalf of Israel's enemies in Jewish population centers.

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