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Israel

Bottles and barricades, but no battle on Yom Yerushalayim

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What was expected to be a day of battle in the raising of the Israeli and Palestinian flags wasn’t a battle as such. There were hundreds of Israeli flags, and the one Palestinian flag clinging to a drone flying above the houses of Jerusalem was removed.

Hamas and the Palestinian leadership apparently had urged their people to rise up, and promised a huge countering of the annual Jerusalem Day march that commemorates the unification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War.

But the expected clashes didn’t occur.

A few dozen East Jerusalem residents began to throw bottles and other low-key missiles at the Jews carrying flags on their annual march through the Old City of Jerusalem.

There was some altercations between Jews and Arabs. While some of Palestinians yelled “Death to the Jews”, there were also some Jews calling “Death to the Arabs”.

At one point in the day, there seemed to be more police and press than actual flag-bearing participants. One Palestinian journalist complained that the police had barricaded the streets so tightly to prevent clashes, that in the end, the clashes that he wanted to record never happened. That is, apart from some visuals of Palestinian demonstrators being arrested after throwing bottles at Jewish marchers.

A kilometre away from the tension in the Old City, in central downtown Jerusalem, the atmosphere was just the opposite. Jews and Arabs went about their daily lives, eating and shopping, this time among the young Israelis coming from all over the country, who were dancing with the Israeli flag hoisted proudly, telling the world that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish people.

  • Ilan Ossendryver is the SA Jewish Report photographer who happened to be in Jerusalem on Yom Yerushalayim (29 May).

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