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PHOTOS: Nationalist Jewish-Israelis march through Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter

The Jerusalem Day march, marking the ‘reunification’ of the city under Israeli sovereignty, has more to do with domination over Palestinians than celebration.

Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
Text by +972 Magazine Staff

Nationalist Jewish Israelis, largely bussed-in yeshiva students, enter the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City through Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Nationalist Jewish Israelis, largely bussed-in yeshiva students, enter the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City through Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Jerusalem Day is billed as a celebration of the city’s “reunification” in 1967, when Israeli forces captured the Old City along with the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights.

In practice, Jerusalem Day is an opportunity for Jewish-Israeli nationalists, draped in flags, dancing in circles, singing and chanting “death to Arabs” as they march through East Jerusalem and the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Most of the Jewish participants are bused in from right-wing and nationalist yeshivas throughout Israel and the West Bank.

Nationalist Jewish Israelis, largely bussed-in yeshiva students, enter the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City through Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Nationalist Jewish Israelis, largely bussed-in yeshiva students, enter the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City through Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ahead of the march Police order Palestinian shopkeepers to shutter their stalls and stores and Palestinians are cleared from the streets in order to prevent the ultra-nationalist participants from attacking them. Jewish participants have been known to vandalize shuttered stores, bang on the doors of homes, chant racist and violent slogans against Muslims and Palestinians, and even use physical violence against Palestinian passersby.

This year, following two consecutive years in which the High Court of Justice ordered police to reign in Jewish participants verbal and physical violence against Palestinian residents, police kept closer reigns on the march. It was limited in time and although individual provocative acts still took place, police and ushers were reportedly more vigilant about maintaining order. A police spokesperson said officers arrested two Jewish minors for shouting racist slogans.

Palestinian men watch the march go by from inside a private home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, June 5, 2016. The High Court has ordered police to reign in right-wing verbal and physical violence during the march in recent years. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian men watch the march go by from inside a private home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, June 5, 2016. The High Court has ordered police to reign in right-wing verbal and physical violence during the march in recent years. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Nationalist Jewish Israelis march through the alleyways of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City during the ‘March of the Flags’ on Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Nationalist Jewish Israelis march through the alleyways of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City during the ‘March of the Flags’ on Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police keep Palestinian residents of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter away from nationalist Jewish Israelis marching through their neighborhood, Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police keep Palestinian residents of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter away from nationalist Jewish Israelis marching through their neighborhood, Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, including the Old City. And although Israel annexed the territory and included it in the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, its residents were not granted citizenship; they hold permanent residency, which can be revoked for any number of reasons, often at the discretion of the Israeli interior minister.

A growing number of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have been applying for Israeli citizenship in recent years, but Israel has been granting fewer and fewer of those applications. Whereas the Israeli Interior Ministry approved 36.8 percent of applications over the past decade, The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday, in 2014 that rate dropped to a measly 5 percent and in 2015 plummeted to 2.9 percent.

Behind police barricades, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem hold a counter-protest against the nationalist display in their neighborhood, June 5, 2016. In years past physical and verbal violence against Palestinians was a central feature of the  march. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Behind police barricades, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem hold a counter-protest against the nationalist display in their neighborhood, June 5, 2016. In years past physical and verbal violence against Palestinians was a central feature of the march. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israel has revoked the residency 14,416 East Jerusalem Palestinians since it seized control of the territory in the 1967 Six Day War, which rights groups have termed a policy of quiet deportation. In 2014, it revoked the residency of 107 East Jerusalem Palestinians, including 56 women and 12 minors, according to information provided to and published by Hamoked — Center for Defence of the Individual.

Whereas the revocation of residency status could be considered a silent or quiet mass deportation, some high-profile participants in Sunday’s nationalist parade were openly lobbying for population transfer. Well-known right-wing activist and former spokesperson of the Kach terrorist organization Baruch Marzel was spotted by +972’s Orly Noy handing out stickers reading: “There is no coexistence with them; Transfer now”.

Radical right-wing Israeli activist Baruch Marzel hands out stickers advocating population transfer of Palestinians, East Jerusalem, June 5, 2015. The stickers read: ‘There’s no coexistence with them; Transfer now’. (Orly Noy/+972 Magazine)

Radical right-wing Israeli activist Baruch Marzel hands out stickers advocating population transfer of Palestinians, East Jerusalem, June 5, 2015. The stickers read: ‘There’s no coexistence with them; Transfer now’. (Orly Noy/+972 Magazine)

Activist Moriel Rothman-Zecher spotted one of the stickers on a young participant:

The sticker, seen on a young participant in the Jerusalem Day parade through East Jerusalem, reads: ‘There is no coexistence with them; Transfer now; Otzma Yehudit (a political party)’, June 5, 2016. (Moriel Rothman-Zecher)

The sticker, seen on a young participant in the Jerusalem Day parade through East Jerusalem, reads: ‘There is no coexistence with them; Transfer now; Otzma Yehudit (a political party)’, June 5, 2016. (Moriel Rothman-Zecher)

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bernie X

      By ‘nationalist Israelis’, you mean Jews.
      And BTW, the ‘Muslim Quarter’ was never exclusively Muslim, until 1948 when Jordan invaded and the Jewish residents fled.

      Reply to Comment
      • patriot

        You seem to imply all Jews are like these nationalist Israelis. As a Jewish Israeli, I object to this statement and find it antisemitic.

        Reply to Comment
      • Tzedek

        Ur….. no, not Jews. The authors of these lines are Jews and they do not recognize themselves in the ideological groups represented in these march: national religious Israelis, the settler movement, mainstream likudniks and so on.

        Quite antisemitic to confuse all Jews with the most racist elements of a radicalized colonial population 🙂

        Israelis are more in “Galut” than all of us

        Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      The text by +972 describes an apartheid regime in Jerusalem. There is no way to get around this. Superimposed on that, take a good look at the pictures. A bunch of schoolyard punks bussed in to intimidate and threaten and humiliate ordinary long time Arab residents and shop owners. Reminiscent, it grieves me to say of some scenes in Europe 78 years ago. Yes of course they keep it under “control” — no one smashed windows at least this time — that’s the thing — it’s all a controlled and quite calculated process, in which the authorities are complicit, according to how much thuggery they can get away with and just how far these punks on the march can be let go on their little fascist school field trip before the outside world would pay too serious attention — all the while these indoctrinated young hooligans are babysat by police and army troops. This is disgusting.

      Reply to Comment
    3. i_like-ike52

      (1) Nothing quite as infuriating as seeing Jews celebrating Jerusalem, is there? No doubt many readers of this site will feel rage at seeing the photos.

      (2) The term “reunification of the city in 1967” is rendered in quotes. Does this mean the city was better off when it was divided and Jews were banned from visiting the Jewish holy sites in the Jordanian-controlled part of the city which was a direct violation of the cease-fire agreement that the Jordanian gov’t itself signed?

      (3) Or was the city better off during the pre-1948 situation of the British mandate when the British saw to it that the mayor of the city was always an Arab even though Jews were the majority of the population, as they are today?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        So apparently your fond concept of “Jews celebrating Jerusalem” is a bunch of schoolyard punks bussed in to intimidate, threaten and humiliate Arab residents and shop owners, marching in scenes that recall the Europe General Golan so inconveniently reminded you of. And these bullies coddled and protected every step of the way by police and army babysitters. And this annual fascistic field trip is funded, get this, not by some settler group but by the Prime Minister’s Office! By the very same guy who likes to prattle in English about how friendly “unified” Jerusalem is to all religions and all peoples! Nice. And if we think that objectionable, then we must be “infuriated.” Is that it? Not the punks screaming “death to Arabs! … Kahane was right! . .. . Arab men don’t even think about looking at Jewish women!” They’re not infuriated? They’re not mentally unbalanced? No? We are? Oh. I see.
        Reunification is in quotes because it is a fake description of reality. The occupation generally depends on fakery.

        Reply to Comment
      • carmen

        Jews were never a majority in Palestine, only after the massacres, forced evacuations and resettlements by the precursors of the IOF – Stern gang, Lehi and Haganah, with the complicity of the British, who mostly just watched it happen.

        Demographic history of Palestine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Palestine

        Reply to Comment
        • i_like_ike52

          Did you read what I wrote? Jews were the majority in Jerusalem already in the 19th century.
          Of course Jews were the majority in the country until the imperialist Arab invaders came in the 7th century.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzedek

            By most accounts, Jews were definitely NOT the majority in Jerusalem in the mid-19th century. At least according to work conducted on Ottoman archives (check Justin McCarthy’s study on this, and he can’t be “accused” of being a Palestinian nationalist).

            But this is irrelevant anyways, because the pre-zionist Jewish population of Jerusalem, the old yishuv, was not necessarily in favor of the movement, hence the assassination of Jacob de Haan by the Haganah in 1924.

            Reply to Comment
          • i_like-ike52

            Tzedek-
            I repeat, why don’t you read what I wrote. I didn’t say “the mid 19th century”, although Jews were the largest ethnic group, if not yet a full majority. In any event, Jews WERE the majority during the British mandate period, yet the British, in order to appease the Arabs, always chose an Arab mayor.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            Where is the proof to back up your statement? I haven’t seen anything that shows there was ever a Jewish majority in Palestine. Your comment about the British always choosing an Arab mayor is strange. Daniel Auster was mayor of Jerusalem in 1937; Shabtai Levy was mayor of Haifa from 1941-1951. You think possibly the dearth of Jewish mayors reflected the dearth of Jewish citizens? Jews never had the majority, sorry. Using all caps doesn’t help you, but facts definitely would. Please provide some.

            Reply to Comment

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