The traditional ‘march of the flags’ on Jerusalem Day, marking the ‘reunification’ of the city under Israeli sovereignty, has more to do with domination over Palestinians than celebration.
Photos and video by Oren Ziv, Keren Manor, Faiz Abu-Rmeleh, Tess Schaflan, Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org
Text by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Jerusalem Day is billed as a celebration of the city’s “reunification” in 1967. In practice, it is a day for Israeli nationalists, draped in flags, dancing in circles, singing and chanting “death to Arabs” as they march through East Jerusalem and the Old City. Many of the Jewish demonstrators are bused in from right-wing yeshivas in Israel and the West Bank.
Palestinian shopkeepers are told to shutter their stalls and stores and Palestinians are cleared from the streets ahead of the march in order to prevent the ultra-nationalist participants from attacking them.
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.
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.