Arrests Made at Jerusalem Day Flag March
From time to time, the Palestine Center distributes articles it believes will enhance understanding of the Palestinian political reality. The following article by Jonny Rafferty was published by Palestine News Network on 21 May 2012.
By Jonny Rafferty
On Sunday 20th May, tens of thousands of Israeli youths marched through Jerusalem's Old City to the Western Wall to celebrate the 1967 "reunification" of the city by the Israeli army. Young Israeli marchers waving flags and singing songs started gathering outside the Old City from mid-afternoon. Most entered the Old City through the Damascus gate where Palestinian counter protestors gathered.
Police expected at least 25000 marchers, many making their way to Jerusalem from far away West Bank settlements, and it is estimated that about 50000 took part in the annual Jerusalem Day Flag March. Most marchers were right wing Zionists.
At one point about 100 Israelis came face to face with a similar number of Palestinians outside the Damascus Gate, each group chanting slogans at each other, before security forces separated them. The Palestinian demonstrators were dispersed and the Israelis were allowed to continue their march.
15 arrests were made. 5 Palestinians were arrested for throwing objects, while 10 Israelis were arrested for chanting racist slogans. The previous year 24 people were arrested and the march got out hand as Israelis marched through the heart of Arab East Jerusalem chanting racist slogans. Yesterday shopkeepers in the Old City were not open during the march, fearing what might happen.
There was certainly animosity in the air as Israeli youths sang songs and shouted at Palestinians, who were kept at a distance by security forces. Security forces used horses to charge at Palestinian demonstrators – similar methods were used to control some of the more extreme marchers, but to a lesser extent.
In a ceremony at the city's Ammunition Hill, site of a major battle in the Six-Day War, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed to keep Jerusalem entirely under Israeli sovereignty, declaring that "Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart. And our heart will never be divided again."
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund.
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