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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 17:50 GMT
Clashes during Israeli campaign
Israeli Arab residents of Jaffa attack a vehicle of the Herut party
Herut is Jewish nationalist party opposed to territorial concessions
Israeli Arabs have clashed with members of the right-wing Jewish Herut party in Jaffa after it launched a campaign to encourage them to emigrate.

Scuffles broke out after Herut members handed out leaflets that called on Israeli-Arabs to emigrate to Arab countries in return for compensation.

Arab residents described the offer as racist, but Herut spokesman Shmuel Ari said the offer was legitimate.

There are some 1.3m Arab citizens of Israel, about 20% of the population.

'Evacuation and Compensation'

Herut - the Hebrew for freedom - is a Jewish nationalist party opposed to any territorial concessions to Palestinians.

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One of the party's campaign slogans for the general election on 28 March is "Evacuation and Compensation", which refers to a compensation law for Jewish settlers who were evacuated from the Gaza Strip last year. This time, however, the offer is aimed at Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Herut members arrived in Jaffa in the afternoon with leaflets carrying the slogan and began handing them out to the coastal town's Arab residents.

One activist took out money and offered locals an "advance".

The Israeli Arabs reacted to the fliers and the offer by throwing a stun grenade at the party members and damaging one of their vehicles. There were also reports that Herut leader Michael Kleiner was beaten up.

Residents called Mr Kleiner a racist and told him: "You're ruining co-existence, get out of here."

A spokesman for Herut said party activists had chosen to leave the area rather than be harmed, but vowed to return.

"All we did was talk to them, it was a legitimate offer from us, but they preferred to respond with violence."

"We have no problem honouring the offer, but what they did was a disgrace to democracy," Shmuel Ari said.


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