Last update - 15:21 05/06/2007
Peace Now protesters in Hebron call for removal of settlers
By Associated Press
About 200 Peace Now demonstrators gathered in Hebron on Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1967 war, urging the
government to remove all Jewish settlers from the biblical city.
At Tuesday's protest near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, demonstrators held signs calling for the removal of the settlers. They faced off against 30 counter protesters nearby, who carried signs calling them traitors. Local Palestinians peered out from the windows at the protesters, while dozens of soldiers - including troops on a nearby rooftop - stood guard.
"I'm here to protest the occupation in one of the most violent places in the territories. I want my name down as one of the people who are
opposed," said Doron Narkiss, 52, a teacher from Tel Aviv.
David Wilder, a spokesman for the Hebron settlers, called the protest incitement. "How can Jews support those trying to kill us?" he said.
Military authorities had sought to ban the demonstration, arguing that the protest would lead to a breach of the peace by settlers, which could endanger the lives of demonstrators, local Palestinian residents, IDF soldiers and police.
But on Monday, the High Court of Justice ruled that the Peace Now
organization could go ahead with a protest to set take place Tuesday next to the Jewish settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The left-wing group petitioned the court after the request to hold the demonstration was turned down by then head of the Israel Defense Forces Central Command, Yair Naveh. The head of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, said it was regrettable that the court had to intervene to safeguard the freedom of expression.
Hebron is revered by Jews and Muslims as the site where biblical
patriarchs were buried, and it is a frequent flashpoint. Israel controls the center, where about 500 settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves among about 160,000 Palestinians. The Palestinians control the rest of the city.
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