The Israeli mayor of Upper Nazareth, a town in the Galilee, has demanded that the adjacent city of Nazareth be declared “hostile” to the state of Israel, and its predominantly Palestinian population, who are citizens of Israel, be expelled to Gaza.
“If it was in my hands, I would evacuate from this city its residents the haters of Israel whose rightful place is in Gaza and not here,” Mayor Shimon Gapso wrote in a letter to Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
Gapso was angered by protests in Nazareth against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza that has claimed more than 130 Palestinian lives since 15 November.
Calling Nazareth a “fifth column,” Gapso wrote that the city is “a danger in times of peace and a real danger in times of war.” He demanded that Yishai declare it a “hostile” city and cut off all state funding.
Gapso urged the interior minister to “show leadership and courage, loyalty to the nation and the state, and to freeze the state funding to Nazareth, in whose head stands a hostile rule, and which supports terrorism.”
For good measure Gapso also denounced Palestinian member of the Knesset, Haneen Zoabi, as a “terrorist.”
Nazareth, in the north of historic Palestine, remained a predominantly Palestinian city, even after the 1948 ethnic cleansing of much of the surrounding area by Zionist militias when Israel was founded during the Nakba.
“Upper Nazareth” was established by Israel in the 1950s as a specifically Jewish town to hem in Nazareth and prevent its growth, as part of Israel’s effort to “judaize” the newly conquered areas.
Shocking incitement even by Israeli standards
Last year, Gapso was denounced by Palestinians in Israel for stating that “more Arabs would have been killed” had he been present when Israeli police shot dead 13 unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel in October 2000.
Gapso’s most recent repulsive statements are only the latest in a festival of incitement to violence and hatred against Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel in the context of the current violence.
In writing to Yishai, Gapso knew he would have a receptive audience. The Israeli minister has in recent days called for Israel to bomb Gaza back to “Middle Ages”.
When these are Israel’s leaders and role models, it’s no wonder students dance and chant “Death to the Arabs.”
Translation of Shimon Gapso’s letter
Municipality of Nazareth-Illit
To: The Minister of Interior, Mr. Eli Yishai,
Subject: Declaring “Nazareth” as a hostile city to the State of Israel
In the last several days the State of Israel has commenced a military operation whose goal is to exterminate terror infrastructure which is disrupting the lives of over a million people, residents of the south of the country. It seems that the entire state is united behind the government, behind the IDF and the rest of the security bodies, and they all drafted themselves to the national necessity of protecting our security in the face of the war-hungry enemy with its evil plans.
But it seems that among the citizens of Israel, apparently, there are some who not only do not identify with this clear national necessity, but find it appropriate, while tens of thousands of IDF soldiers are being drafted to the national effort- to identify themselves openly and bluntly with our enemies and who attempt to hurt the national moral and the general unity behind the just war on terror.
In the city of Nazareth it was decided to establish a protest whose goal is resisting the operation of the IDF and supporting the continued unabated firing of missiles on the villages of the south. This protest is the clearest sign, of which no other sign can be clearer, that the current administration in that city is a “fifth column” in our midst, which is a danger in times of peace and a real danger in times of war. Of course, not all of the residents of Nazareth are like this, but those among them who are being raised up by popular waves of hatred to Israel are becoming multiplying in numbers and becoming stronger, and they are the ones who are setting the tone. It should be mentioned that also the terrorist Haneen Zouabi [a member of the Israeli parliament] is a resident of this city, which is becoming a nest of terror in the heart of the Galilee, a center for the spreading of hatred of Israel, which supports and backs every anti-Israel effort, and waits for the right moment to stab the state in the back.
If it was in my hands, I would evacuate from this city its residents the haters of Israel whose rightful place is in Gaza and not here and instead I would cultivate in their place those among its residents who are interested in sustaining a city which respects its past and its place in history, as a city of tourism, fraternity, peace, and loyalty to the state. But since this goal is impossible to accomplish, we can only do the minimum: stopping the flow of state money to this city, money which is being paid by, as it is well known, those decent hardworking Israelis, payers of taxes and lovers of the homeland, who would be shocked to discover that their money is being used as a salary to that inciter who is the mayor of the city, who uses the money of the municipal system to arrange subversive activities against the state, and to his people who are also being sponsored by the taxpayer’s money, whose primary goal is to incite to hatred and to the right of the Jewish People to live peacefully in its land.
I therefore call upon you, as one who is responsible for funding local municipalities, to show leadership and courage, loyalty to the nation and the state, and to freeze the state funding to Nazareth, in whose head stands a hostile rule, and which supports terrorism. I promise you the the residents of my city and me on their top, will salute you, and many many people in the nation will appreciate this important and committing step, a step which is all about national pride, love of the homeland, recognizing reality and forecasting the future, and declaring that Zionism still is alive and exists.
Mayor of the city Nazareth Illit
Translation: Joshua Tartakovsky