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The buoyant mood following the largest protest in Israel's history is morphing into rage after protesters were evicted from their tents and several encampments were demolished by police and government officials.

More than 200 protesters today streamed toward city hall to protest the city council's decision to evict protesters from several areas in Tel Aviv, and as the anger grew, protesters attempted to storm city hall, throwing eggs, furniture and other objects at the building while trying to break through a police barricade, chanting, "The people demand the eviction of Huldai (Tel Aviv's mayor)!"

Protest demo in front of Tel Aviv city council, 7/9/2011.

Protest demo in front of Tel Aviv city council, 7/9/2011.

today 1

today 2

Overnight, police and government workers attempted to evict protesters from several locations and demolish the protest encampments. Many of these locations were in some of Tel Aviv's poorest neighborhoods. This contrary to government claims that officials were merely "cleaning up" abandoned tents and garbage.

 Police demolished shacks in camp in Jesse Cohen neighborhood, Holon, 7/9/2011.
Police demolished shacks and tents in Jesse Cohen, one of Tel Aviv's poorest neighborhoods.

Police evicts the protest camp in Holon, Israel 06/09/11
Police evict protesters from Holon.
Police evicts the protest camp in Holon, Israel 06/09/11
Protesters try to salvage their belongings as police evict protesters from Holon and demolish the encampment.

When police today tried to demolish parts of the protest encampment in central Tel Aviv – after assuring protesters that they had several days to remove their belongings – hundreds of protesters, enraged, marched upon city hall, and over 40 so far have been arrested.

According to Ynet, protesters were explicit about their rage:

"Up until now we were gentle, but we won't be quiet anymore. Our response to the privatization – a revolt," they shouted and proceeded to block off nearby roads and even boarded a bus passing by.

It is being reported that social justice protest leader, Daphni Leef – the woman who began everything eight weeks ago when she camped in Tel Aviv's streets as an act of civil disobedience – is giving a speech to protesters. (For more on Leef, see my diary from Saturday: "My Mind Was Blown by What I Witnessed Last Night.")

Earlier, she told reporters, while watching the violence between protesters and police:

"It's hard for me personally to see this violence. But a few people have been arrested in a violent manner, so you can't say that the violence is only perpetrated by the protesters. I think that the removal of the tents is outrageous...this is happening because of a real anger and a gut feeling. The people feel that they are being disrespected."

It is also being reported that police and government officials are planning another overnight raid in a matter of minutes to further destroy Tel Aviv's central and surrounding protest tent encampments.

Weeks ago, I warned of the dangers such evictions and demolitions could have in inflaming Israel's protesters:

As the already-massive social justice protests continue to expand in Israel beyond the middle class, they will continue to move into countless under-represented communities in Israel. As this happens, as more and more tent cities pop up, as is happening on a daily basis, municipal leaders must not only be vocally castigated for trying to dismantle such tent communities. They must also be warned of the risks involved in slating for demolition any protest camp, especially those constructed by some of Israel’s weakest societal members – particularly as the large encampment in central Tel Aviv continues to pulse and thrive.

These protests, expansive in scope and spanning almost all segments of Israeli society, have so far been remarkably non-violent, a factor that has contributed to their overwhelming support from the Israeli public. One of the worst things that could happen to this movement, as it attempts to effect economic changes that could benefit all citizens, is for it to be needlessly provoked, either by municipality leaders or by the authorities.

As we’ve seen in other parts of the world, things can change quickly. Sparks are always smoldering under the surface.

While protest leaders have themselves taken down their tents, there has been no official call for all protesters to do so, and if such evictions and demolitions continue apace, particularly in Israel's poorer neighborhoods, the protests could take a violent turn. And that would be a loss for all parties involved.

Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 01:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Eyes on Egypt and the Region.

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Comment Preferences

  •  these are the characteristics of a healthy (6+ / 0-)

    democracy.

    I wish the middle and working class in the US would stand up for its own economic interests as vigorously as these Israelis.  

  •  I read a link earlier today (4+ / 0-)

    http://www.marketwatch.com/...

    The Republican War on America...

    We'll have to see if we can replicate the success. The author does not mention the Israeli protests (I wish he would have).

    I think the author's analysis applies as much to the protests in Israel as what could happen here. What do you think?

    "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

    by AZ Independent on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 01:55:55 PM PDT

    •  I think the solidarity of which the author speaks (4+ / 0-)

      has certainly already happened in Israel, though I'm not sure that some of the other conclusions he draws have a perfect parallel to what's going on in Israel.

      That said, it will be interesting to see what kind of reaction the Sept. 17 protest gets.

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 01:59:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My problem is- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Statusquomustgo, capelza

        I'm hesitant to get involved in something like this.

        How can I do this without making my family suffer more? I can't fly to NYC and leave my family behind. I can't just up and leave my job. How would I afford rent? Food and formula?

        yeesh. Saying this makes me realize just how much of a cog I am in the big machine. Activism on weekends only I guess. But even then, I'd sacrifice time with my family :(

        "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

        by AZ Independent on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:04:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They're all fair emotions and thoughts, AZ. (7+ / 0-)

          It's not financially possible for people to fly to NY to protests, nor would it be responsible for many, particularly parents.

          That's why protests should be popping up in EVERY city and town.

          I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

          by David Harris Gershon on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:18:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True. But the impact of thousands (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, The Troubadour, ColoTim

            in front of the NYSE would be much greater...

            This country is just so huge, I feel like sometimes we get lost in its vastness.

            I think in that regard, the protesters in Israel have it fairly easy- everything is in relatively close proximity. Indeed, from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv is less than my round trip commute to work from N Phoenix to S Scottsdale and back. Haifa to Tel-Aviv is less than the distance to my grandfather's house in the far west Valley.

            Not to mention that they probably have a much better public transportation system :(.

            I'll try not to get discouraged, maybe we can force our leaders to listen.

            "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

            by AZ Independent on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:34:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Darn! I had hoped this was happening in the US! (5+ / 0-)

    We need a little more "storming" here.

  •  Tell me (0+ / 0-)

    ...why I should care anything about Israel.  I'm not anti-jew nor anti-muslim, not anti-anything except I do not give a whit about Israel.  We give them at least $3 billion dollars a year of our tax money.  All we get from it are donations to Republicans from the members of AIPAC.  The Israeli government is not our friend.  All they care about is themselves.  

    I'd put the zionists and the palestinians in a room, lock the doors, and walk away.  They can get along or they can tear each others throats out with their teeth.  I don't care.

  •  Blown out of proportion... (0+ / 0-)

    and I mean by the diary.

    The mayor seems to have overreacted and could have accomplished his stated aim in alternative fashion.

    To make a different point, the cited article also said:

    Leef said that while she believes in a nonviolent protest, the aggressive nature of the demonstration was driven by "real anger and a gut feeling. The people feel that they are being disrespected."

    I can understand being disrespected, and have experienced it firsthand.  But I don't believe in violence over feeling disrespected, even if it made me angry in my gut.

    A writer cannot prevent and is not responsible for the deliberate desire of some to distort his words. -- Eric Sevareid

    by citizen53 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:43:47 PM PDT

    •  That was quoted in the post too.... nt (0+ / 0-)

      "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

      by AZ Independent on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:45:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I also read Haaretz... (0+ / 0-)

        which said the protest was only 100 strong.

        A writer cannot prevent and is not responsible for the deliberate desire of some to distort his words. -- Eric Sevareid

        by citizen53 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:57:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Haaretz estimate was innacutate. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw

          Several attendants claimed 400 were there. I chose to stick with Ynet/police reports of 200.

          Glad to know you rely on Haaretz for your news though! :)

          I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

          by David Harris Gershon on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 03:16:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course. That makes it no less one-sided,... (0+ / 0-)

            however, in its slant.

            I don't make it the devil like some make the Post, even to call for its banning as a source, often in spite of the accuracy of the information presented.

            I understand that if there is a matter of controversy, there will ALWAYS be at least two sides to consider if I want to make an decision based not only on values, but knowledge.

            A writer cannot prevent and is not responsible for the deliberate desire of some to distort his words. -- Eric Sevareid

            by citizen53 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 03:33:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  When you take everything (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lenzy1000, Friendlystranger

    there is to take from people--what you get is "storming."

    These brave protesters in Israel are "standing up."

    They are refusing to be victims.

    They are refusing to participate in the dialogue their government is attempting to hold with them-they are refusing to participate in the dynamic their government is setting up for them.

    "Stand tall-stay strong!"

    "Power is a fleeting thing. One day your souls will be required of you." Bishop Peter Storey---Central Methodist Mission, Johannesburg, June 1981

    by lyvwyr101 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 03:54:42 PM PDT

  •  Neo cons always (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tamar

    respond to peaceful protest that has a chance of changing things with violence.

    To tell them they had days to remove their things, then start tearing down their tents immediately is just wrong.

    This reminds me of the 60's here. They allowed it only to a point, then they got violent as hell.

    I hear they may use live bullets against the peaceful march for statehood in the occupied territories as well.

    But eventually, the strong and the brave in Palestine and Israel will come together and win for human rights, dignity, mutual respect and peace in their lands. The few right wingers and extremists on either side do not represent the millions of men, women and children who truly just want to live unmolested with equality and love.

    •  I don't have the hope you express, but I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diane Gee

      admire your faith in goodness and justice winning in the end.  I sincerely hope you're right and I'm wrong....

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:48:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hate is taught. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar

        This level of hate is indoctrination.  There are those who only cab gain power through fear-mongering and selling hate as righteous.

        To me, all around the world we are seeing proof that Capitalism is a failed experiment. Extraction of resources from the bottom to the top; the top always competing into a smaller and smaller sub-class of Elites always results in the disenfranchisement of some, if not all into abject poverty.

        People tire of it. When they look around, they begin to empathize with those whom they may have been told to hate before.

        I'm no pollyanna, but I think the human spirit does prefer peace over murder, love over slaughter and their families over a few rich men whipping them into a frenzy of hate.

        Mutual assured destruction wasn't just a cold war thing. As the planet's resources fail to support us due to the extraction by the few, and global warming changes everything, all humans MUST learn to get along to live.

        I am hoping that happens, yes. I am not sure it will.

        But the alternative? Wheeeeew.

  •  My older daughter commented that maybe this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Friendlystranger

    will give Israelis some idea of how Palestinians feel when their buildings are torn down, their possessions destroyed, when they are evicted from their homes.
    She hopes it may create a sense of solidarity between the dispossessed on both sides.
    I, on the other hand, am afraid that Israelis will blame this on the protesters, not on the government.
    Both of us are thinking that for some of the protesters, these tents had become actual living quarters and so it's not that their protest was dismantled but that their homes were being destroyed.
    It's really sad that in Israel and the United States, times have become so desperate that Hoovervilles have returned.  

    If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

    by Tamar on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:53:59 PM PDT

    •  I understand the perspective, but I don't think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tamar

      such scenes will turn Israelis off of the protests. The current conditions are to blame, and it seems most Israelis currently share this view.  

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 05:46:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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