21 May 2009
On Thursday 21st of May, a group Israeli and International activists staged a protest contesting the celebration of Jerusalem day, which marks Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Activists held placards showing support for the persecuted Palestinian population of occupied East Jerusalem as right-wing Israelis marched by on their route from the West to the East of the city. The protest caused anger amongst the marchers and they repeatedly attempted to take the banners and rip them. The police arrived and forced the protest back, and away from the march, by physically pushing the activists.
The protest continued through Jaffa St and Ben Yehuda Street, where it was met with another baying crowd of right-wing Israelis who chanted “Death to all Arabs” and attempted to intimidate the activists by pursuing them through the streets.
A demonstration earlier in the day was held outside Damascus Gate, involving local Palestinians. Speeches were made and chants of “End the occupation” were shouted by the crowd, with the event passing peacefully.
Jerusalem day is an Israeli national holiday celebrating the supposed unification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the old city in June 1967. Israeli’s sovereignty of East Jerusalem is not recognized by the international community and it’s regarded as illegally occupied land.
Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem have long suffered discrimination and violence since it’s annexation in the ’67 war. Recently the number of house demolition orders in East Jerusalem has increased dramatically, a result of Israel’s continued policy of attempting to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from the land.