Extremist Israelis celebrate "Jerusalem Day" by parading through the city's Palestinian neighborhoods, shouting racial epithets. (Photo: Anne Paq/ActiveStills)
On Sunday Israel celebrated 45 years of occupying East Jerusalem with thousands of jubilant right-wingers hurling racial epithets in a parade through the Old City and Muslim Quarter during "Jerusalem Day," a state holiday embracing the 1967 capture of the city. Nationalist ministers of Knesset lent legitimacy to the anti-Muslim/anti-Palestinian chants by praying at the Temple Mount and declaring the holy site under Israeli sovereignty.
And, although annexing of East Jerusalem is a violation of international law, Israel also released a commemorative coin for "Jerusalem Day."
"The Temple Mount is in our hands!" said minister Uri Ariel in a statement yesterday. He, along with minister Michael Ben Ari, led a group of extremists from the parade to the religious site, which prohibits Jewish visitors from public prayer. "The site is under Israeli sovereignty and therefore the Israeli government must allow every Jew to realize his autonomous rights and to go up to pray on the Temple Mount."
At the mosque, Israeli police detained Ariel, Ben Ari, and one other for violating agreements made with the Muslim religious leaders regarding the use of the sacred site. However, Ben Ari brushed off police, saying his position with the Knesset gave him immunity from the statute.
Israeli authorities suppress Palestinian protestors near the Damascus Gate during a Jerusalem Day demonstration. (Photo: JC/ActiveStills)
Meanwhile en route to the Western Wall, by way of the Damascus Gate, extremist Israelis shouted, "the Temple will be rebuilt, the mosque will be burned," "Mohammed is dead," "sons of whores," and "death to the leftists". When the right-wing marchers entered Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter, protests were sparked amongst the Palestinian residents of the city and left-wing Israelis. Police on horseback then suppressed the demonstrators, arresting five. Ten Israelis were also arrested.
Israeli police arresting a Palestinian man protesting the nationalist "Jerusalem Day" parade that celebrates the 1967 conquest of the holy city. (Photo: Anne Paq/ActiveStills)
Preempting dissent in the West Bank near Beit Ummar Israeli authorities also blocked Palestinians from entering the Old City with boulders and concrete slabs. And Ma'an reported the roadblocks, along with a police detail, ensured settlers from Hebron uninterrupted bicycle access to the day's events.
Footage of right-wing Israelis shouting racial slurs during Jerusalem Day 2011.
(Video: Solidarity for Sheikh Jarrah)
The Jerusalem Day parade through Palestinian neighborhoods began last year, and similar to this year, right-wingers celebrated by rhythmically shouting racial slurs. After receiving backlash, 2012 parade organizers officially banned defamatory language. But Haaretz's Nir Hasson reported, "while the organizers said only a few outliers failed to adhere to that standard hundreds of young people spent hours shouting at the Palestinians protesting near Damascus Gate."