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Jerusalem divided, unequal as Israel marks 1967 capture
Published Wednesday 28/05/2014 (updated) 15/06/2014 18:43
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An Israeli youth overlooks Jerusalem Day celebrations by Damascus
Gate in East Jerusalem, May 2013.(MaanImages/Charlie Hoyle)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- As thousands of Israelis march through East Jerusalem on Wednesday to celebrate its capture in 1967, the Palestinian community continues its struggle to survive in a city marked by systematic political, economic, and social divides.

Every year, thousands of right-wing Israelis march through East Jerusalem neighborhoods and the Old City in a national holiday described by Israel's Ministry of Tourism as marking the "liberation" and "reunification" of the city.

But for Palestinians, who make up 40 percent of the population, the day is a reminder of their historic dispossession and compounds their ongoing marginalization from a city which was once the political, economic, and cultural center of Palestinian life.

Over 75 percent of Palestinians, and 82 percent of children, live below the poverty line in East Jerusalem, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

There are huge discrepancies between East and West Jerusalem in terms of education, health, water access, and planning, while Israel has also revoked the residency of 14,309 Palestinians since occupying the city in 1967, with 106 in 2013 alone.

Palestinians in Jerusalem are granted "permanent resident" status, similar to foreign, non-Jewish citizens who choose to live in Israel, and are not Israeli citizens.

Despite forming nearly half of the city's population, only 10 percent of Jerusalem's municipal budget is spent on Palestinians.

"It's increasingly obvious that Israel is doing anything it can within its own legal structures to push young Palestinian families and couples out of town," Micha Kurz from Grassroots Jerusalem, an NGO in East Jerusalem, told Ma'an.

"Not only are living conditions very poor, but healthcare is inaccessible. People can't find jobs, and no new Palestinian neighborhoods have been built (since 1967) while Israel has been building settlements on Palestinian land."

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, ACRI says, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements.

The construction of the separation wall has also cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank and forced nearly 100,000 Palestinians in areas such as Ras Khamis, Ras Shahada, and the Shuafat refugee camp to live in "abject neglect" on the outskirts of the city.

Between 60,000-80,000 Palestinians in those neighborhoods have been cut off from a regular water supply for over three months.

Jerusalem Day is a celebration of the Zionist narrative, Kurz says, and is designed in such a way that Israelis ignore the fact that Palestinians have no right to vote nationally, have few economic prospects, and enjoy none of the public services afforded to Jewish residents.

"Thousands of Israelis will be marching through Palestinian neighborhoods shouting: 'It's time you leave this town.' This is what the celebration is about; it's systematic.

"Within the next 10 or 20 years Palestinians will be cleansed out of Jerusalem, politically and economically, but also culturally and religiously. Give it another generation or two."

Young Israelis march into Damascus Gate waving Israeli flags and chanting
nationalist slogans during Jerusalem Day celebrations.(MaanImages/Charlie Hoyle)

Erasing the Green Line

Despite being one of the key final-status issues to be resolved in any future peace agreement, Jerusalem Day celebrations promote a clear rejection of the idea that Jerusalem will eventually be shared between Palestinians and Israelis.

"At the same time that the Israeli government claimed to Pope Francis that they protect Christians, reality says otherwise: Jerusalem day is a reminder for everyone that according to the Israeli government in occupied Jerusalem there is no place for Palestinians, either Christians or Muslims," Xavier Abu Eid, a communications adviser with the PLO, told Ma'an.

"The message of Jerusalem Day is that Jerusalem belongs to one people, with no rights for Palestinians, a message which has not been supported by any party in the international community, who have never recognized the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem."

The celebrations entail a march through the Old City in which thousands of young, hardline Israelis parade through the streets triumphantly waving Israeli flags and chanting nationalist slogans.

In the past, the chants have amounted to racist taunting of Palestinians and the atmosphere is charged with nationalist fervor.

Despite the celebrations being embraced by the right, Israel since 1967 has created a city in which the Palestinian population is invisible for most Israelis, with two deliberately separated populations that rarely interact.

"It would require a very serious and far-ranging public service educational campaign to undo the years of propaganda about Jerusalem as an eternal and undivided city," Emily Hauser, a columnist for Israel's Haaretz newspaper, told Ma'an.

Jerusalem Day is a "useful outlet" for expressing the sentiment of the Israeli right-wing, a base which the government relies on, but it also reflects the intentions of the Israeli government, Hauser says.

"I don't think that the current government had any intention in negotiating in good faith, let alone sharing Jerusalem."

Most Israelis in Jerusalem, even the more secular or liberal, would not differentiate between the illegal settlements of Gilo or Har Homa from other Jewish neighborhoods, Hauser says, reflecting the extent to which Israeli government policy has "erased the Green Line."

"People are ignoring something happening a mile from their front door, and their kids are going to have to support it with arms. Nearly 82 percent of Palestinian kids live in poverty. How is that holy? And you are allowing and perpetuating that."

On May 21, 1968, the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed that the "acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible."

The resolution stated that "all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status."

Despite the position of the international community, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday declared before the Knesset that "Jerusalem was reunited and it will never be divided again."

"Celebrating so-called Jerusalem Day is a reaffirmation that the Israeli government does not have the two-state solution as a goal," Xavier Abu Eid told Ma'an.

"There will be no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital."
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1 ) Two / Truths
28/05/2014 17:38
1- PALESTINIANS "have no right to vote nationally", in Lebanon, Syria Egypt, and (possibly) Jordan either, but they
* DO VOTE IN PALESTINIAN national ELECTIONS, and those that hold Israeli citizenship can also vote in Israeli elections !!
2- Though the UNSC reaffirmed "acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible," the Arab invasions (1948, 1967, & 1973) intended to do exactly that !!

2 ) Two More / Truths
28/05/2014 17:46
After WW2 and the fall of the Turkish/Ottoman,
* THE TERRITORY WAS NOT recognized by UN Security Council, as being
* PART OF ANY STATE - Not Britian, Not Jordan, and
* NO PALESTINIAN STATE EVEN CLAIMED OWNERSHIP until recently, so
-1- Israel didn't steal the territory from Palestine, and
-2- SOVEREIGNTY of disputed areas
* WILL NOT CHANGE WITHOUT A PEACE AGREEMENT.

3 ) Bibi / Israel
28/05/2014 18:53
47 years ago Jerusalem was united. That's how it will be forever.

4 ) Outlier / USA
28/05/2014 20:12
Israel will annex East Jerusalem or the Palestinians will cede most of it to achieve statehood. Either way, end of problem.

5 ) Khalid / Qatar
28/05/2014 22:02
@3 - In your dreams!!!!

6 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
28/05/2014 22:34
#4 I hate to tell you but Israel annexed East Jerusalem over 34 years ago. Some more interesting facts. In 1948 there were 65,000 Arabs living in Jerusalem. Under Jordanian rule the population rose to 67,609 taking into account that one half of the Christians living in Arab areas left. Under Israeli sovereignty the Arab population ballooned to 313,000 by 2012. Between 1967 and 2012 Jewish population grew from 195,000 to 660,000. Thus the Arab population is growing at a greater rate in Jeru

7 ) Martin Edwin Andersen / USA
29/05/2014 01:31
The invitation by Pope Francis to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to come to the Vatican for peacemaking underscores the importance, and especially the immediate relevance, of the ideas found in "Common Lands, Common Ground; The indigenous agenda, Israel, Palestine and breaking the post-Oslo Peace Accords logjam" @ http://goo.gl/XZIKoa

8 ) YANK / USA
29/05/2014 01:58
Israel will share Jerusalem. US taxpayers and politicians are losing interest in subsidizing an apartheid state. It will take time though. Ignore the drivel of the Ultrazionist facists.

9 ) human / world
29/05/2014 02:22
It's impossible to distinguish the face of Israel from the face of the devil.

10 ) daniel / argentina
29/05/2014 06:52
Don?t blame israel or jews if the article 24 of the palestinian charter of 1964 excluded west bank and gaza from palestinian soveraign claims.

11 ) LOL you should all come to / JERUSALEM
29/05/2014 11:16
IT IS THE MOST BEAURIFUL CITY IN THE WORLD it is growing by LEAPS AND BOUNDS THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM will be finished (expanstion and tunnels) in 2 years and then from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem-- 28 minutes By then TLV will be REPLACED by JLM in WORLD AVIATION THE CAPTIAL OF THE JEWS WILL BE THE CAPITAL OF THE UNIVERSE!

12 ) JoeFattal / USA
29/05/2014 18:24
@8) You are right. Jerusalem will be share. No way in the world the Palestinians will stand still if Israel annex East Jerusalem. You will have a civil war and Jerusalem will be burn to the ground.
@11) No thanks...The place is like a hot potatoe ready to explode with some stupid extremists burning churches and vandalizing Mosques and writting hateful slogans on Churches wall.

13 ) Chimo / USA
29/05/2014 18:54
Gee, I wonder why the author makes no mention of the fact that between 1948 and 1967 when Israel took it back from Jordan, all Jews who had previously lived in East Jerusalem were either slaughtered or driven out by the local arab militias aligned with Jordan or the Jordanian army at the time, there also were no Jews permitted to live in Hebron or any other part of what they call the West Bank. Israel is much fairer to arabs than arabs have ever been to Jews living under arab rule

14 ) Moshik / ISR
29/05/2014 23:32
After 60 yrs it's all over. You cannot unfold reality. Move forward. Get on with your life. Life is too short to spend it on long gone days.

15 ) ian / australia
30/05/2014 03:15
#6 "I hate to tell you but Israel annexed East Jerusalem over 34 years ago." Remind me, Rondo Mondo, how many countries around the world recognise the legitimacy of the annexation of East Jerusalem? And how many regard it as legal under international law? And if you take the maverick attitude that it doesn't MATTER that Israel is OUTSIDE the world consensus and that you don't CARE what anyone thinks, why DOESN'T it matter that Israel has become a justifiably hated rogue state?

16 ) Outlier / USA
31/05/2014 20:39
(first comment spiked) 15., Ian, the world will recognize the annexation when Palestinians cede East Jerusalem, and and Palestinians will cede East Jerusalem - except for a token portion to house their capital - to achieve Palestinian statehood. As for when, that depends on the Palestinians and how long it takes for them to face reality. Any more question?

17 ) ian / australia
01/06/2014 06:37
The palaver about Jerusalem being "undivided" generated by Jerusalem Day bears no relation to the realities of the ACTUAL city. It's empty rhetoric because Jerusalem is ABSOLUTELY divided. West Jerusalem is the First World, with a transplanted, largely European population vaguely uneasy about being in the Middle East (despite being SOLD that it's where they "belong"). It's wealthy with touches of LA like the Mamilla Mall to make Jewish tourists spend up big before going home. Over the highway,

18 ) ian / australia
01/06/2014 06:40
(contd.) it's the Third World, modest and poor, a former colonial outpost, with an indigenous population which has credibly been nowhere else since Canaanite times. Flag waving settlers rampaging through the Muslim Quarter via the Damascus Gate express the desperation of people who need to belong (and possess) but don't and never will. All they're really celebrating is an illegal land grab, universally condemned, which they have the power to sustain in an atmosphere of endless, toxic tension.

19 ) ian / australia
01/06/2014 06:41
(contd.) The point is the myth of the "unified" city is a political rallying cry not a reality on the ground. The reality is Occupation: the military subjugation of a people in what is obviously THEIR city by an eccentric power fantasizing it belongs to THEM. And when the time comes when Israel is compelled to share, to divide the "undivided" city (which was never really "united") the division is obvious. Israel will get the West, the Jewish Quarter inc. the Kotel (where they can build the new

20 ) ian / australia
01/06/2014 06:42
(contd.) monster "Jewel of Israel" synagogue and whatever else it likes) i.e., the JEWISH areas and Palestine will get the PALESTINIAN parts: East Jerusalem, Aqsa mosque, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan etc. etc. I mean, does ANYTHING else make any legal, moral or historical sense?

21 ) Wardah / Oman
01/06/2014 15:36
@Ian: 17-20, I think you have summed it up very well. Palestinians don't need to create the illusion of belonging, they do, its their home. They may not have a developed infra structure or wealth. Many will live as their forebears have for thousands of years, but they have dignity & pride. This cannot be bought & sold, but comes from within. When time comes to 'share', as long as Palestine gets what belongs to it; Al Quds, Israel can have W.Jerusalem, stay there & build what it likes. Who cares.

22 ) Saburah / Misri
01/06/2014 21:03
Interesting fact is that Muslims call the Kotel, the Buraq Wall (where Prophet Muhammed sws, is deemed to have tied Buraq (his steed) when he visited Al Quds on the Night Journey. Small point, but just to be sure, ask our Grand Mufti of Al Azhar (independent advisor) to confirm the Buraq Wall is not essential to Al Aqsa & can be generously parted with to aid peace with our Jewish brethren. We all know it is the most important site to Jews & its history. This stops extremist claims later. Salem.

23 ) ian / australia
01/06/2014 23:52
#14 "After 60 yrs it's all over. You cannot unfold reality. Move forward. Get on with your life. Life is too short to spend it on long gone days." There's truth in that, Moshik. Sometimes it's best to accept the events of the past, even the injustices and start again based on the situation NOW. In that spirit, neighbourhoods which are obviously Jewish like Ariel, Gilo, Har Homa, Pizgat Ze'ev, Gush Etzion and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, would become sovereign Israel though they are

24 ) ian / australia
01/06/2014 23:54
(contd.) legally in occupied Palestine. And Palestinian areas like Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi al-Joz, Silwan and the Muslim Quarter, including the Haram (and obviously Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron etc.) would be in the new State of Palestine. THAT would be achnowledging "you cannot unfold reality" and that "life is too short" to not "move forward". It's a deal the Palestinians might well in absolute pragmatism accept though NOT one Israel in its apparently infinite greed would ever offer.

25 ) Patrick O'Shaughnessy / Ireland
03/06/2014 00:21
Well it looks like history may be rewriting itself, with the fate of the Palestinians surely now on the up. Ian (23/24), pragmatism is certainly something that the Palestinians could be said to be adept at. However I'm sure, as tempting as your theory is, they might need to consider how their 'returnee's, fit into the picture too. I mean supposing they gave away all the Palestinian 'Jewish' bits, then had no space to put newcomers (unless 'cross border' is an option or get more land elsewhere).

26 ) ian / australia
03/06/2014 10:35
#16 "Ian, the world will recognize the annexation when Palestinians cede East Jerusalem, and and Palestinians will cede East Jerusalem - except for a token portion to house their capital - to achieve Palestinian statehood." It's like Lord Haw Haw or "Orphan Anne" demoralising the troops with hypnotic repetition: "Give up. You can't win. Accept the "token portion". Cede. It's the best you can do. Face reality." The Palestinians have already rejected this lulling message and the "token" pittance,

27 ) ian / australia
03/06/2014 10:39
(contd.) the humiliating crumbs offered in Kerry's farcical "talks" and, against your advice, Outlier, are pursuing other ways to achieve self determination and justice.

28 ) Rami / Palestine
04/06/2014 08:52
#11 Its not enough that you stole Palestine and desecrated the ancient city of Jerusalem with your disgusting glass towers, corporate centers, and fake natural parks, now you want to steal the universe? You Zionists are really something.

29 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
05/06/2014 13:58
Constantly amused by Ian's pontifications from occupied/conquered/colonized aboriginal lands in Australia.

30 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
05/06/2014 16:53
To 29 You might be amused by this ( Ian will not) Australia's Attorney General says East Jerusalem should not be referred as occupied. "The description of East Jerusalem as 'Occupied East Jerusalem' is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful. It should not and will not be the practice of the Australian government to describe areas of negotiation in such judgmental language."

31 ) Outlier / USA
06/06/2014 20:44
26., Okay, Ian, let's look at it the other way. How many Palestinians believe - realistically - they will gain sovereignty and a capital in East Jerusalem in their lifetimes? Now, which do Palestinians believe is more important, a Palestinian state or Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem? Ian, the answer to these questions should tell you and the Palestinian people everything you and they need to know about the outcome.

32 ) ian / australia
07/06/2014 23:49
#30 Yes, we are reliving the Bush era with a throwback conservative government and an embarrassment of a leader. Little is certain in politics except that right wing governments all come out for Israel. Must be something about pitiless, brute power. But our new position on East Jerusalem (oy veh!) is absurd. Australia is a minor, peripheral player. Talking tough on Jerusalem, tougher than the EU and US (!) and completely at odds with UN resolutions and the global consensus just makes

33 ) ian / australia
08/06/2014 09:23
#25 "...as tempting as your theory is..." It's not my theory, 'Patrick'. It's ONE way to think about a solution to an intractable problem (specifically for Moshik #14 who thinks "you cannot unfold reality" and that we must "move forward"). For what it's worth, I personally agree with Khaled Meshaal who says he would accept "a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, without any settlements or settlers and not an inch of land swaps".
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