Israel marks 45 yrs since seizure of E. Jerusalem (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) By Jonah Mandel 05/20/12)
AFP} Agence France Presse
AFP} Agence France Presse Articles-Index-Top
Israeli ministers held a special cabinet meeting at Ammunition Hill
on Sunday to celebrate Jerusalem Day when the Jewish state captured
the Arab eastern sector 45 years ago during the Six-Day War.
Celebrations were lined up throughout the day with formal ceremonies,
parties and the annual flag march through east Jerusalem to mark
the "reunification" of the city which took place after the 1967
Middle East war.
For Israel, which annexed the eastern sector in a move not recognised
by the international community, Jerusalem is its "eternal and
But for the Palestinians, east Jerusalem is where they want the
capital of their promised state.
There were to be several memorial ceremonies throughout the city for
those who fell during the Six-Day War, followed by the flag march
which normally draws tens of thousands of marchers, many of them
religious Zionist nationalists.
The weekly cabinet meeting was held Sunday at Ammunition Hill in east
Jerusalem, a former Jordanian military post that saw some of the
bloodiest fighting and which now houses preserved trenches, battle
fortifications and a museum.
During the meeting the cabinet decided to allocate 350 million
shekels ($91 million, 72 million euros) to create public spaces in
Jerusalem over the next six years in a bid to develop tourism and
infrastructure, a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s
"The decisions that we are making today will continue this
government´s considerable investments in Jerusalem in recent years,
the results of which we already see today," Netanyahu said.
"These investments will help give expression to Jerusalem´s vast
potential as a focus for global tourism and will greatly contribute
to the development and strength of Israel´s capital."
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told the cabinet that Jerusalem has been
growing both culturally and economically for the last three years and
had become "an open and inviting city where everyone is welcome."
Security was tight throughout the city, with thousands of police on
duty to secure the events, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
In the morning, two extreme right-wing members of the Israeli Knesset
were part of a group that ascended to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound,
revered by Jews as the holiest site in their religion where their
historic temples once stood.
The site, referred to by Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif and considered
the third holiest site in Islam, is managed by Jordan´s Islamic Waqf.
Jews are allowed to visit the site under police supervision, but
prohibited to pray there.
Three men from the group who attempted to pray there were removed
from the site and questioned by police, Rosenfeld said.
"Thousands of police officers are being deployed throughout the city
to avoid any disturbances along the route of the march which is
expected to begin around 5:30 pm (1430 GMT)," he said of the annual
Police said they were expecting more than 25,000 to attend the
parade, which this year will begin near Netanyahu´s residence and
wind its way towards the walled Old City before ending at the Western
Wall, one of Judaism´s holiest sites.
Women were expected to enter the Old City through Jaffa Gate, while
the men were to walk clockwise around the ancient walls, passing
Damascus Gate, the main entrance from east Jerusalem, and continuing
until the Dung Gate in the city´s southern wall, a police statement
Last year, the march began in the sensitive east Jerusalem
neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, with some marchers chanting anti-Arab
slogans which sparked clashes and a handful of arrests.
According to figures released for Jerusalem Day by the Central Bureau
of Statistics, the city is the largest in Israel and has a population
Of that number, 497,000 residents -- or 62 percent -- are Jews,
281,l000 -- or 35 percent -- are Muslims and 14,000, or 2 percent,
are Christians, with the remaining 9,000 or so unclassified.
(Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse. 05/20/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY