Israeli Arab protesters have clashed with police after right-wing Israelis marched on the predominantly Arab town of Um al-Fahm. The Israelis headed to the outskirts claiming they were exercising their right to raise their flag anywhere in Israel.
The people of Um al-Fahm saw the demonstration as an act of extreme provocation. The right-wing Israeli march was over within an hour, but by then angry Palestinians were throwing stones at police who responded with plastic bullets. The town is considered a stronghold of Israeli-Arab sentiment and is an area which the ultranationalists want to hand over to a future Palestinian state in exchange for Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The clashes came at a time of increased tensions between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Arab minority. Um al-Fahm has witnessed much violence over the years, and the scenes there today are a sharp reminder of the unresolved Arab Israeli conflict.