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Israeli Arab Party Says Hundreds of Its Activists Were Questioned by Police

Focus of probe is about recent fundraising campaign, which Balad party officials say was for social and community activities.

The Balad party said Tuesday that police had been questioning hundreds of its activists and supporters about a recent party fundraising campaign.
According to the statement, the party conducts periodic fundraising campaigns for social and community activities like workshops, tours and day camps, as well as to cover legal expenses of activists arrested at demonstrations, but that none of this violated the Party Funding Law.
The party also noted that while in past Balad activists and supporters had occasionally been questioned about political activity, this new investigation was unprecedented in its scope and methods. It said all those questioned were warned by police not to discuss the investigation.
Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka told Haaretz that the investigation is “a continuation of the political persecution of the party’s activists and members. The investigation is being conducted in a way that intimidates the activists.”
Senior Balad officials told Haaretz that from talks with some of those questioned, they understand that the investigation touches on the party’s fiscal conduct, but also goes into political activity. “There’s no doubt that there’s a well-oiled bureaucracy working against the party, and it joins the incitement campaign being led by the government in the Knesset against Arab MKs, and particularly against Balad,” one official said.
Some 60 people were questioned in Baka al-Garbiyeh, 25 in Tira, and dozens of others were questioned in the Negev. A senior Balad official added that in the Galilee and Wadi Ara areas, there were dozens questioned in each town.
The Israel Police said, “We do not confirm or deny the existence of investigations or actions ostensibly taken in the course of an investigation.”

Jack Khoury
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.723978Schermata 2016 06 09 alle 09.12.15

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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