Police have refused to handle security, raising the possibility the exhibit may be moved, if it goes forward at all. Civil society cannot survive when the group that shouts the loudest and makes the most threats wins an argument by default. “Palestinian groups threaten Italian ‘Israel Week’,” by Menachem Gantz for YNet News, June 6:
Italian police have refused to handle security for an Israeli exhibit at a central Milan square next week due to threats of violence by Palestinian activists, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
The exhibit, set to take place at Piazza Duomo, has been planned in honor of ‘Israel Week’ in the city. It includes 15 towers showcasing Israeli culture, technology, agriculture, economics, and art “to present the unfamiliar Israel”.
But pro-Palestinian organizations are threatening to target the exhibit. Over the past few days the groups have been urging internet users to sign a petition to cancel the exhibit.
Web posters issued by the groups threaten to “ignite the city” and say, “No to Israeli occupation of Milano”.
The exhibit has received all necessary permits from Milan’s municipality, but political turmoil surrounding the election process in the city have apparently short-circuited communications between the municipality and police, who say officers stationed at the open-air plaza will have difficulty securing the area in the event violence breaks out.
On Monday the municipality was preparing to hold a conference that could end with orders to move the exhibit to a closed space.
Israel Week may prove a difficult initiation for the city’s new mayor, Giuliano Pisapia, who says he will participate in an economic forum planned as one of its events.
Israel’s ambassador to Italy, Gideon Meir, said Sunday that “the exhibit is an expression of the warm relationship between the two states, and it has won the approval of all municipality officials”.