AFP | May 17, 2015 | JORDAN TIMES
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli nationalists and security forces clashed with Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday as crowds of Jewish hardliners marched across the city to mark the 48th anniversary of its occupation.
Known as “Jerusalem Day”, the anniversary marks the seizure in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and later annexation of mainly Arab East Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.
Israeli forces said two officers were wounded by Palestinian protesters and at least four Palestinians were arrested near the walled Old City’s Damascus Gate.
The demonstrators were dispersed by baton-wielding security personnel, some on horseback.
Onlookers said at least two Palestinians were wounded in various clashes, and video footage showed a man being taken away on a stretcher by Red Crescent ambulance staff.
Security forces would not say how many Zionists descended on the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, only that “large crowds” were expected.
“They are coming here with the support of an extremist government that paid for their buses,” a Palestinian woman, Muna Barbar, told AFP outside Damascus Gate.
The Palestinians want the eastern sector of the city as the capital of their promised state, and vigorously oppose any attempt to extend Israeli control.
But Israeli leaders have repeatedly vowed that the city will never again be split, calling it their “eternal, indivisible” capital.
“Jerusalem has always been the capital of the Jewish people alone and not of any other people,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at an official Jerusalem Day ceremony.
“A divided Jerusalem is a past memory: the future belongs to a complete Jerusalem which will not be divided again.”
Leftist groups, including members of the Meretz Party’s youth wing, held a counter-demonstration outside city hall to protest against what it called the “march of hate”.
An AFP journalist said about 100 people took part amid a large security presence and there was no trouble.
One participating group, the anti-racism movement Tag Meir, said the annual march had become “a focus for extremist groups” and was routinely accompanied by “racist slurs and insults, destruction of property and physical violence against the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem”.
“This year we say a loud and clear ‘No to the violence, the hatred and the incitement’ which threaten the delicate fabric of daily life in Jerusalem,” it said.
The group said its supporters would walk through the Muslim Quarter giving flowers to residents as a gesture of peace and coexistence.
Today, some 200,000 Israelis live in 15 settlements in East Jerusalem alongside a Palestinian population of 310,000.