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Photo Essay: March for Palestinian independence

The demonstration today in Jerusalem in support of Palestinian independence was attended by anywhere from 2000 to 4500 people (according to a Facebook post), who marched from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate to Sheikh Jarrah. I was there and organizers announced 3,000 attendees at the end, but Channel 2’s evening news reported “over 1000.”  I suppose they’re playing it safe, but after tramping through burning sun on a winding walk through Jerusalem’s famous Friday crush, with people singing, drumming, cheering, dancing and laughing, that conservative estimate has a cynical ring.

Here are a few photos.

Leaving Jaffa Gate to march toward Sheikh Jarrah in support of Palestinian independence, 14 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

The goal of this demonstration was very clear: The creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Many expressed a clear demand to the Israeli leadership: recognize that state. Stickers such as this one were common – for some reason, they tended to appear on people’s backs.

"Bibi, meet (also: recognize) Palestine" - Sticker calling on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to recognize a Palestinian state, Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Dahlia Scheindlin)

Typical for Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement’s Friday demonstrations, flags and good cheer were in abundance; but by design, Israeli flags are very rare.

Solidarity march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Solidarity march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

A lone "Two people/two states" sign at the Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

"Israeli - Palestine, two states for two peoples" sign at Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Personally, I think it’s time for all Israelis to realize that the creation of an independent Palestinian state is in Israel’s best interest. The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement can do what it wants, but wouldn’t it be powerful if a far greater range of Israelis recognized this logic, and joined our demand for pragmatic decisions from their leaders, including in the name of Israel and with Israeli flags?

At various points, the march highlighted the gap I sometimes feel between the activists and the East Jerusalem residents who observe, or sometimes cheer – but it feels as if they aren’t quite a part of this struggle.

Parent and children crossing the street past demonstrators, near Damascus Gate, Old City, Jerusalem, during Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Youngsters cheering marchers from the Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Indeed, toward the end, as the marchers – who are largely Israeli – gathered in the traditional square in Sheikh Jarrah, a group of Palestinian teenagers gazed awkwardly at them. When I asked one of them if he was part of the demonstration, Muhammad, 18 years old, said he was not – he was just living his life. “I’ve gotten used to Israelis,” he said. Although Palestinian statehood would be a good thing, he responded when pressed, he didn’t have time to join the demonstration, because he had a coffee shop to run.

The demonstration also received support from some very special ladies, at least I thought they were special:

Women demonstrating at the Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Women demonstrating at the Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

A number of marchers called on the international community to join the struggle.

Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Solidarity Movement march for Palestinian independence, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Solidarity march in support for Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

There were not too many politicians to be found. Haaretz reported that Zehava Galon was there. The only MK I managed to find was Dov Khenin, of Hadash.

Dov Khenin at Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement march in support of Palestinian independence, Jerusalem, 15 July, 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Maybe there were many other pragmatic politicians there, but the actual crowd size was so large that they were swallowed up in the masses. Maybe; but it’s not likely. For now, it seems, vision, activism and a way out of the quagmire will be left to the few thousand Israelis and Palestinians who are willing to confront hot Fridays and apathy to demand solutions.

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    1. Eitan

      Many thanks for the great pictures and the warm words! It was an amazing day, and I’m really glad that +972 people were there!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Arieh O'Sullivan

      nice photos D. you’re right about the Israeli flag. would have given it more legitimacy if there were lots of both flying.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Eitan

      This country is full of Israeli flags. I don’t see why we need them in the few hours that Israelis devote to supporting the basic rights of Palestinians.
      Another point is that real cooperation is a work in progress. At the moment the situation isn’t such that Israeli flags would work. Who knows, maybe they would some day.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Danny

      Nice. Futile, but nice.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Love it! Good to know there are Israelis who support ending the occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Sam Smith

      Most Israeli support ending the occupation. Most Palestinians, however, do not support another state next to them.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Deïr Yassin

      Israeli flags have been floating in East Jerusalem for more than 4O years, every time a settler takes over a new house, raising the Israeli flag on the roof is the first thing that’s done.

      I for one, and I know many Palestinians who would NEVER participate in such a march with Israeli flags. Why not sing the Hatikva too ? And be grateful that the Israelis care ….

      @ Sam Smith
      If most Israelis support ending the occupation, maybe you could ‘analyse’ why Bibi and Yvette are in power. Most Israelis want peace on their premises: peace for peace, or if they are ‘liberals’, peace for a couple of Bantustans supervised by the State of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Eitan, I personally think the point is that because israel needs to make a major policy change, the israeli public must demand it – not just 3000. But the vast majority of Israelis would feel left out of today’s march, and i think it’s natural, as there was nothing there to symbolize who they are. They support a pal state mainly from the perspective of israeli interests, which i have to admit is also natural, whether right or wrong. It’s not realistic for them to take on the pal struggle. It IS realistic to allow them to join forces for a pal state, for their own reasons. We need all the support we can get right now for a change of policy (b/c we’re not gonna see a change of government/political forces any time soon). I’m not arguing SJ must change its approach – but why not draw in other groups and communities too, who do raise the flag? we need them – unless we’re not serious about the change we claim to want; then it’s ok to remain 3000.

      Reply to Comment
    9. @Deir Yassin, your comment has been edited for inappropriate content. Please read our comments policy.

      @Sam Smith, you must not have read my last column in the jerusalem Report, which is not yet available on line but shows that your comment about Palestinians is just wrong. In that column, i review extensive survey research showing that most Palestinians do want a state within 67, which means they accept that Israel is there to stay. You have not provided any evidence at all for your statement, which is therefore not particularly credible.

      Reply to Comment
    10. max

      Dahlia, I applaud your activism though I disagree with this act. Yours is a message that with some adjustments, I would join.
      In regard to your answer to Sam Smith: I’d say that the latest survey published in Ha’aretz corroborates his claim.
      I’d be happy to find a different view.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Sam Smith

      Dahlia, I wish what you say were true. In any case, I still think it’s in Israel’s interest to make more concessions – once Israel is out of there the Palestinians will have to finally take responsibility for their actions. Either they stop fighting Israel and start building their own state, or if they continue fighting Israel, the right wing will have been proven right…

      Here’s reference to a recent survey that shows otherwise:


      “In another measure of the Palestinian mood, an opinion poll commissioned by the group The Israel Project, which dispenses information to journalists and others about Israel and the Middle East, showed that about 65 percent of Palestinians polled said they thought now was the time for diplomatic contacts, while 30 percent saw the current period as the time for violent resistance. On the other hand, only 34 percent favored a two-state solution involving a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state. Furthermore, 66 percent favored a two-state solution as only a first step to be followed by a Palestinian state replacing Israel.”

      Reply to Comment
    12. Max, look at who sponsored that survey. Then please read my article in the July issue of J Report – I can’t rewrite everything here, but as soon as it is available on line, I hope you’ll find it. Here are two short excerpts: “the most recent poll by veteran pollster Khalil Shikaki’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR)…shows that for a clear plurality (48%), the overall top goal is to end the occupation and declare a state on the land conquered by Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.” AND “[A poll] conducted in April by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, a polling institute in Ramallah, and based on 1,198 respondents, shows that 53% prefer a two state solution, while 22% seek an equal, bi-national state on all the land. Contrary to Israelis’ fears, only 10% sought a purely Palestinian state on all the land.”

      Reply to Comment
    13. max

      Correction: JP, not Ha’aretz

      Reply to Comment
    14. max

      Dahlia, I remember a summary you gave of one of your previous surveys.
      The way questions are phrased affects the way people answer. I have no access to the JP survey, I presume you could. It’d be interesting to hear your comparative analysis.
      Also, I’m not familiar with the players to know how biased they are, nor what’s the role and influence each of them has – Beit Sahour-based Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, Israel Project, and American pollster Stanley Greenberg.
      So what I read is menacing.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Deïr Yassin

      Since yesterday or this morning the blogosphere is overfloaded with the newest poll ‘prooving’ that the Palestinians don’t want ‘peace’.
      Two lines in Haaretz and a very brief article in JPost and all the Zionist right-wingers are in extacy.
      Nothing about how the poll was conducted, whether the questions were ‘closed’ or ‘open’, multi-choice, etc and particularly nobody seems to care that this poll as so many others was sponsored by The Israel Project (TIP).

      The Israel Project is the leading Hasbara office abroad. They edited the now famous ‘Global Language Dictionnary’ aka ‘The Hasbara Manual for Beginners’ aka ‘How to Sell Israel Abroad’ a couple of years ago. This manual by Frank Luntz describes how to use the best language to promote Israeli settlements to the American public. The study was marked “Not for distribution or publication” but was leaked to Newsweek.It recommends being positive, framing the issue as being about PEACE and not the SETTLEMENTS and to claim that the rejection of Jewish settlements is anti-semitic and ethnic cleansing. I guess some of the commenters here on 972 mag already apply the recommendations !

      There’s a link to the ‘dictionnary’. Have a good laugh.

      Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrahi, the founder of The Israel Project states that TIP “works tirelessly to help protect Israel by improving Israel’s image”.

      When a poll financed by a propaganda organization whose hidden agenda is selling the Israeli settlements shows that Palestinians ‘don’t want peace’, sorry, but it’s worth nothing. It’s only propaganda for the right-wing rejectionnists on the Israeli side who thus can blame the situation on the Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Deïr Yassin

      @ Dahlia
      I’m sorry, but I simply don’t trust any survey coming out of Palestine.
      You should look into the history of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) and its director Khalil Shikaki, who’s on the board of expert of The Israel Project (cf. their own list).
      The PCPSR is a part of and financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
      (follow the links)

      The NED was founded in 1983 during Reagan to promote US-friendly democracy, and it’s primarily fonded through Congress. It has been accused by both right- and left-wing of interference in foreign regimes, particularly in Latin America (Bolivia, Venezuala etc).
      Cf. the article on ‘sourcewatch’ and links on the wikipedia-page.
      A very critical article in French by someone who has studied the NED and its ramifications:
      “When A Respectable Institution Takes Over Afet the CIA:

      So with all my respect for Khalil Shikaki, but this is not a neutral research center.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Sylvia

      “Personally, I think it’s time for all Israelis to realize that the creation of an independent Palestinian state is in Israel’s best interest.”
      All Israelis do realize that and they all agree to the principle of a Palestinian state. What most Israelis don’t agree with is two states without clear, defensible borders.
      Two adjoining states without predefined borders is a recipe for endless war. That’s just common sense.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Dahlia, you ask for pragmatism from our leaders, yet talk of an impragmatic 2-state solution. Our entire Israeli society (from right to left) saw to that.

      You also mention there were hardly any Israeli flags (by design) yet say that the demonstrators were mainly Israeli. You mention Palestinian youth as spectators – who’ve grown accustomed to Israelis.

      The 2-state solution may indeed have been in the best interest of Israel, but its time has passed. A long time ago.

      I believe all these thousands of demonstrators’ hearts are in the right place. But ideologically the 2-state solution is a dud. A dud that only the Zionist right still waves in it hand.

      I would however, like yourself, love to see more protests with both Israeli and Palestinian flags. Especially in West Bank demonstrations. Israeli Jews should mark themselves clearly and proudly as such – especially if they’re to act as human shields or be arrested by the IDF in front of cameras.
      But I guess we’ll have to wait till after September – when the UN shoots the Palestinian state down – to see that happen.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Blaster

      What happens to the thousands of Arab Israeli citizens when E Jerusalem becomes the Palestinian capital? Will they automatically be grandfathered in or do they get kicked out being Israeli nationals?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Great pictures. I hope the event was successful.

      I think it is good to see Israelis just supporting Palestinian independence. Israeli flags weren’t necessary.

      Peace is only possible with a healthy Palestine, and greatly enhanced if Israel and Israelis help Palestine become sovereign, viable, healthy.

      It is possible to change one’s own attitude towards Palestinians (to a predisposition of goodwill), and it is possible to transform the relationship between Israel/Israelis and Palestine/Palestinians by one’s actions.

      And, Israel must keep its eyes wide open for both opportunities to help, and for dangers.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Michael

      I hope there will be more and even larger marches and that they get media coverage here in the U.S.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Ben Israel

      Rather odd….here are a bunch of Israelis speaking in the name of the Palestinians (“2 state solution-shared Jerusalem, peace, brotherhood…”) yet the Palestinians themselves didn’t show up for the march.
      Maybe the sentiments expressed don’t accurately represent what they really think.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Ben, maybe you didn’t see all the pictures. Of course there were Palestinians there. My observation was that there were many more Israelis, true. But there was a significant and very vocal presence. Come along next time and see!

      Reply to Comment
    24. Deïr Yassin

      ‘Jeremiah Haber’ at “Magnes Zionist” has a great article on the march that he attended, and some absolutely great remarks in the comment section to his Wednesday 13th-article on why he didn’t want any Israeli flags. Highly recommandable reading from a reel mensch.
      He stated that the Israelis were in majority in the march, but as the Israeli police were videotaping everybody, he understood why the Palestinians were reluctant to attend.
      I mean who wants to end up as Amir Makhoul or Azmi Bishara …

      Reply to Comment
    25. When I joined the SJ demo during a visit to Israel, I was told that Palestinians hesitate to join in because of the potential consequences. Even with the currently intensifying pressure on dissident Jewish Israelis, their vulnerability is in no sense comparable to the vulnerability of Palestinians. Generally, where a Jewish Israeli might get a slap on the wrist in the form of tear gas and maybe a night in jail, Palestinians who join peaceful demonstrations face the possibility of months in jail and a much greater likelihood of suffering violence at the hands of Israeli police or IDF.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Ahmad Qarawi

      I was also there .. I came from Morocco .. I met them suddenly .. i became enthusiastic to share with them .. I liked the peace which was there between jewish and muslims .. was sooo saaaafe.. so enthusiastic …
      Peace .. Paix .. Salam .. Shalom

      Reply to Comment
    27. max

      @DY, I very surprised by your earlier comment (re faith in survey) as the views in the JP report seem to fully fit your views!?

      Reply to Comment
    28. Deïr Yassin

      @ Max
      And I’m very surprised that someone who just confessed that he doesn’t know The Israel Project (TIP] – and Stanley Greenberg is on their payroll – still has the chutzpah to pretend knowing anything about polls in Israel/Palestine.
      I’m sure you’ve grasped my views as well as you grasped the essence of that documentary from Balata.

      By the way, Richard Silverstein has an article on The Israel Project on his blog today:

      Reply to Comment
    29. max

      @DY, I have nothing to comment on your claim based on the maxim that anything that’s supported by US diplomacy is to be disregarded and discarded.
      I assume the UN, where the US is the main contributor, also falls into this category.
      I’m glad you found out (your comment on RS above) that some supporters of the Palestinian cause are butchers. I presume your list of those is quite long. Tell me who you admire and I’ll tell you …

      Reply to Comment
    30. Deïr Yassin

      @ Max
      Funny how you’re capable of distorting what you read and see. After your ‘reinterpretation’ of the documentary on the Balata-camp, now you claim that I ‘found out that some supporters of the Palestinian cause are butchers’.
      Maybe it’s your comprehension skills, but I actually wrote that seeing ‘Gbagbo as a butcher and Ouattara’s coup d’état as peaceful was VERY ONE-SIDED’.
      Why don’t you stay on topic instead of jumping around from one topic to another ?? YOU bought up the topic of this totally biased poll, and I gave your basic informations about the pollster and his interrelation with The Israel Project. Maybe you should actually READ serious stuff on Israel/Palestine, instead of just ‘hasbarizing’.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Eva

      To all: I’ve read your comments, but don’t have the time to reply individually. I was there, I’m Israeli & Jewish and have been in many demonstrations (Sheikh Jarrah, Silvan, Tel Aviv..) For most of the people I know (activists like me, even those some of those who held signs promoting the 2-state solution) would actually prefer 1 democratic state for all. If some of them chose to “promote” a 2-state solution, it’s mainly because that’s the only thing that the main Israeli public can take (for now). The purpose is to rally them to the cause, and not to alienate them even more.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Moshe

      1) Many of the Arabs in Jerusalem are “happy” to have the jobs and access to Israeli social services that are available to them with a Jerusalem residency card in “Jewish” Jerusalem. Though the fact that the government and municipality have done rather poorly almost to the point of failing at creating and improving the resources available to them in “Arab” Jerusalem despite the annexation and the motto’s claiming a united city.
      2) As was pointed out many don’t care for and don’t want to attract unwanted police attention to themselves, so to speak! As is they are often subject to being held up by the police for ID checks etc. on a day to day basis while going about there business. Here as well they would much prefer to remain bystanders then be on the hard end of a cranky police officer.
      3) Perhaps the presence of more Israeli flags would have offered legitimacy for regular Israelis that support the two state solution by making them feel more “welcome” while removing the label and stigma of such a march being a “far left” activity.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Horatio

      The arabs occuping the Jewish Homeland should have kept on marching to their homeland in Jordan. (According to International law, Judea and Samaria are part thereof, as well as the Gaza and most of the Golan Heights, and then some in Jordan) Bet you won’t post this because you don’t like the truth about the San Remo Resolution and the subsequent ratification by the League of Nations and the treaties that bind European nations as well as the U.S.

      Reply to Comment
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