Saturday, May 27

Jerusalem - A City more Divided than Ever!

Israelis wave flags as they celebrate Jerusalem Day outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City 
This past week, almost coinciding with the glitch-filled Trump visit, including the notorious, loutish behavior of MK Oren Hazan, who pushed his way through to take a selfie with President Donald Trump, which was the only achievement of Trump’s State visit to Israel. Another celebration took place after Trump and his retinue boarded the plane to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis.

But as to whether the US considers Jerusalem to be in Israel, whether in the eastern or western part of the city, that question remains unanswered, even after Trump's ceremonial visit.1

Some Israeli politicians have felt that Trump's visit to Jerusalem is a sign of obvious recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the city, including the Old City.2

This celebration - the 50th Anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem during the Six Day War of 1967. There was tremendous euphoria when Eastern Jerusalem fell into the hands of Israel at the time and for a few years after that until the Yom Kippur War of October 1973.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed it into Jerusalem, together with the additional surrounding territory.3

The cracks in this euphoria began when settlements were built in occupied territories for religious Zionist zealots. These occupied territories are controversial and Israel was not able to enjoy the fruits of victory for very long as a new reality of illegal settlements were established, including in areas around Eastern Jerusalem that belonged to East Jerusalem Palestinians.

Jerusalem, while being united territorially, was never united demographically and still remains so to this day. This year, while Israel celebrated the unity of Jerusalem, it became clear that cracks in that unity is growing wider and wider so much so that those who celebrated and made themselves the most felt were the right wing, religious Zionists.

An activist with IfNotNow is carried away by Israeli police during a Jerusalem Day protest, Jerusalem, May 24, 2017. (JC/
It became a political fanfare of showing who are the bosses of Jerusalem today! The Israeli flag waving, tzitzi-dangling, kippa-cladded youngsters of the extremist right wing Zionist religious, Bayit HaYehudi Party, (whose leader is Naftali Bennett) and the religious, fascist, extremist, MK and Deputy-Speaker, Bezalel Smotrich, were raucously parading the streets.

It was a frightening spectacle to watch.
These noisy demonstrations’ sole purpose was to provoke the East Jerusalem Palestinians and those who are against the occupation seeking a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Most secular Israelis were not part of this hateful, provocation and there were counter-demonstrations resulting in arrests. The loutish and provocative behavior of the right wing religious, Zionists were left to their own shocking behavior.

The message of this whole charade was a message of power and to show the world that Jerusalem is the property of the right to extreme right-wing settler movement that wishes to colonize the West Bank. There was nothing that one could view as promoting peace. There was no hint of good will or a feeling that Jerusalem belongs to everybody who lives in it irrespective of their creed or race.

Many of us cringed with shame when we saw how the masses of right-wing Zionist religious youth with their raucous, provocative screaming did their utmost to display their power over the Palestinians and others who do not share their racist, extremist views. It was an exercise of hate for the stranger in their midst.

Naturally, there were arrests and detentions of those who opposed this mass exercise of hatred and self-righteousness.

The despicable behavior of the religious, Zionist extremist right-wing is further proof that Jerusalem is far from being a united city. Unity is not based only on free access to every part of Jerusalem, but also on the desire of all Jerusalemites to accept each other. Tolerance towards all people whether they are Christian, Muslim or Jew is not part of the extreme right wing agenda as illustrated by these loutish demonstrators.

This disgraceful, Israeli flag waving and crude slogan screaming of “who is the boss” proves that Jerusalem will remain a city divided by hate for many years to come.

The United States and most other nations have not recognized Israel's annexation of territory captured in 1967, and both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.4

  1.  24 May. 2017, Accessed 27 May 2017.
  2. 24 May. 2017, Accessed 27 May. 2017.
  3. Accessed 27 May. 2017.
  4. 24 May. 2017, Accessed 27 May. 2017.

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