Controversy erupts over Nakba ceremony request at Galilee forest

The head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, Moti Dotan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Moti Dotan, the head of Israel's Lower Galilee Regional Council, and the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons in Israel are at loggerheads over the latter's request to hold a Nakba Day procession in the Lavi Forest on Israeli Independence Day.

The quarrel began when the association recently sent a letter to Dotan stating it had sent a request to Tiberias police, asking permission to hold a procession commemorating the "Nakba"—meaning "catastrophe" in Arabic, and a term Arabs use to denote their displacement following the 1948 war—in the heart of the Lavi Forest, which is located between Haifa and the Sea of Galilee.

Dotan responded to the group by saying he was vehemently opposed to a Nakba ceremony on Independence Day.

"Holding a gathering and procession of this kind presents the opportunity for a violent confrontation between thousands of revelers—something which the regional council cannot allow," he said.

Dotan warned Northern District commander Maj. Gen. Zohar Dvir against the potentially explosive situation posed by the meeting between thousands of Israelis and Arab demonstrators.

"The police must prevent this event as is the case elsewhere—such as the interdiction against Jewish entry to the Temple Mount or informing the public not to ride on Route 65 because of the Arab demonstration over the torching of a mosque in Umm al-Fahm. I am absolutely certain that full discretion will be used to prevent a violent confrontation, which no doubt will occur if the event is held on Independence Day," Dotan wrote to Dvir. 

Posted on April 24, 2014 .