PHOTOS: Jerusalem Day brings tensions in divided city to the fore

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.

Israeli youth chant slogans outside Jerusalem’s Old City while marching to celebrate 48 years since the “reunification” of the city, May 17, 2015. Activestills.org
Israeli youth chant slogans outside Jerusalem’s Old City while marching to celebrate 48 years since the “reunification” of the city, May 17, 2015. Activestills.org
A Palestinian woman stands near a police checkpoint outside Jerusalem’s Old City, during the Jerusalem Day march, May 17, 2015. The march marks 48 years since the “reunification” of the city. Activestills.org
A Palestinian woman stands near a police checkpoint outside Jerusalem’s Old City, during the Jerusalem Day march, May 17, 2015. The march marks 48 years since the “reunification” of the city. Activestills.org
Israeli youth march through Jerusalem’s Old City, marking 48 years since the “reunification” of the city, May 17, 2015. Activestills.org
Israeli youth march through Jerusalem’s Old City, marking 48 years since the “reunification” of the city, May 17, 2015. Activestills.org
A Palestinian shop owner closes his shop in Jerusalem’s Old City before Jewish marchers pass by, May 17, 2015. The so-called “flags march” marks 48 years since the “reunification” of Jerusalem. Activestills.org
A Palestinian shop owner closes his shop in Jerusalem’s Old City before Jewish marchers pass by, May 17, 2015. The so-called “flags march” marks 48 years since the “reunification” of Jerusalem. Activestills.org
Israeli police detain Palestinian protesters outside Jerusalem’s Old City ahead of the “flags march,” May 17, 2015. The march marks 48 years since the “reunification” of Jerusalem. Activestills.org
Israeli police detain Palestinian protesters outside Jerusalem’s Old City ahead of the “flags march,” May 17, 2015. The march marks 48 years since the “reunification” of Jerusalem. Activestills.org
Left-wing Israelis protest against racism on Jerusalem Day. Jerusalem, May 17, 2015. Activestills.org
Left-wing Israelis protest against racism on Jerusalem Day. Jerusalem, May 17, 2015. Activestills.org
An Israel policeman detains an Israeli youth for attacking Palestinian journalists outside Jerusalem’s old city, May 17, 2015. Activestills.org
An Israel policeman detains an Israeli youth for attacking Palestinian journalists outside Jerusalem’s old city, May 17, 2015. Activestills.org
An injured border policeman is helped by his friends outside Jerusalem’s Old City, as Jewish marchers celebrate Jerusalem Day, May 17, 2015. The march marks 48 years since the “reunification” of Jerusalem. Activestills.org
An injured border policeman is helped by his friends outside Jerusalem’s Old City, as Jewish marchers celebrate Jerusalem Day, May 17, 2015. The march marks 48 years since the “reunification” of Jerusalem. Activestills.org