First Published: 2011-08-11

 

Israeli protest leader: UK riots 'warning sign'

 

Leaders of Israeli social protest movement warn: riots that swept Britain could take place in Israel too.

 

Middle East Online

The London fires could spread to Israel

JERUSALEM - Leaders of Israel's social protest movement on Wednesday called for more demonstrations this Saturday while warning that riot-swept Britain shows what can happen if public discontent gets out of hand.

Protest organisers on Wednesday called for more protests over the coming weekend, but not in Tel Aviv, scene of mass rallies last weekend.

"We decided not to stage demonstrations in Tel Aviv but to call for rallies across the country," activist leader Stav Shafir said.

"The important thing is to prove that the protest is not limited to people from Tel Aviv."

Student union leader Itzik Shmuli told public radio that Saturday rallies were planned in Afula in the north, and in the southern city of Beersheva.

Last Saturday more than 250,000 demonstrators marched on the streets of Tel Aviv and other cities calling for "social justice."

Shmuli said that while his members were committed to peaceful protest the unrest in Britain should sound an alarm bell to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The warning from protests that has gone completely out of control can also be a warning sign to Netanyahu of what could happen if the public sees that dialogue (with the government) is insincere," Shmuli told local news website Ynet. "It could lead to a venting of anger here."

He said the students were committed to talks with the government.

"But we ask for a sincere and real process with the aim of bringing about real solutions and a change in priorities."

The public agency responsible for state-owned land, which is most of the land in Israel, approved on Wednesday Netanyahu's proposals to lower prices on land sales to facilitate affordable housing, in what local media called a historic decision.

"Land will no longer be used as a tool for profit but will serve the citizens," Israel Lands Administration chairman, Housing Minister Ariel Atias, said in remarks broadcast on state-run television.

Israel has been rocked since mid-July by a rapidly growing protest movement demanding cheaper housing, education and health care.

Haaretz newspaper warned on Wednesday that complacency could derail the movement.

"Protest organisers are facing the worst enemy in their struggle: loss of interest," the daily said.

"Organisers should not become discouraged even if the turnout is lower at the next demonstration or the media decides not to cover events in Rothschild Boulevard," it said of Tel Aviv's upscale area where many protesters set up a tent camp.

An opinion poll published by Channel 10 television late on Tuesday showed that 88 percent of respondents said they supported the movement, with 46 percent who voted for Netanyahu's Likud party saying they had joined protests.

A committee charged with examining the demands of the protest movement met for the first time on Tuesday, expressing the hope that its work would provide Israelis with a "better future."

 

Chief negotiator of Syria opposition quits over failed talks

Iraq forces enter ISIS-held Fallujah from three directions

Bahrain appeal court ramps up jail sentence against Sheikh Ali Salman

Sanctions gone, Iran drums up business with West

Plastic replaces glass in Syria window-less city

Jordan heads into elections by fall after parliament dissolution

Turkey to abandon migrant deal if no visa-free travel

Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leader to life in prison

Kuwait jails members of ruling family for insulting Emir

Tunisia blames ‘terrorist elements’ for deadly landmine blast

Turkey offers to join forces for Syria operation -- without Kurds

Starving Iraqis risk all to flee crumbling rule of ISIS

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sowing ‘sedition’ in Iraq

Israel police send Netanyahu spending file to prosecutors

Bahrain court upholds life terms for five 'spies'

Investigators need 12 days to recover EgyptAir black boxes

Iraq troops prepare for final assault on ISIS-held Fallujah

Iraq Kurdish forces launch offensive east of Mosul

Shipwrecks in Mediterranean claim up to 700 lives in one week

Iran blames Saudi Arabia for Hajj impasse

ISIS offensive triggers mass displacement in northern Syria

Without clear roadmap, Libya unity government fails to bring change

Iran moderate conservative retains parliament speakership

Iran delegation leaves Saudi Arabia without Hajj deal

Hundreds of civilians flee Fallujah area in Iraq

Khamenei urges Iran lawmakers to resist Western 'schemes'

ISIS-rebel clashes grip northeast Syria town

New US law could sanction Hezbollah officials

Thousands of protesters gather in central Bagdad

99 lashes for partying Iranian students

100,000 Syrians trapped after shock IS advance in Aleppo

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Turkey party seeks constitutional change to boost president's powers

Turkey accuses US of 'hypocrisy' on Kurdish militia in Syria

Israel environment minister resigns from 'extremist government'

US-led coalition pounds IS near Raqa

Tunisia mulls allowing women to serve in army

US-backed fighters battle IS near Syria stronghold

Tunisia tourism sees 'slight recovery'

UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

Bahrain jails 19 for attacks on police

Up to 30 dead in shipwreck off Libya

UN says Syrians will 'starve' unless aid improves

Christian homes set ablaze in Egyptian village 'love story'

Kuwait's main opposition group ends polls boycott