Another provocative march through occupied East Jerusalem was organised by far-right and ultra-nationalist Israeli Groups to commemorate Israel’s occupation and unification of the city in 1967 (an event that the international community still almost unanimously condemns as an illegal annexation). Tensions have remained high since the preceding violent march that took place on April 22, and Israel’s continued implementation of its plans to illegally expel Palestinians from the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
Israeli police prepared for the annual march by enforcing widespread closures of streets in the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and advised those in the Old City to close down their shops. The annual march in Jerusalem continually disrupts Palestinian freedom of movement and commerce and often results in acts of vandalism and harassment.
Over 5,000 Israelis, mainly youth, but also Right-wing Israeli lawmakers and members of parliament including Bezalel Smotrich, Shlomo Karai, Itamar Ben Gvir and Orit Struck, marched from West Jerusalem to the eastern part of the city as hundreds of Israeli troops watched on. Outside the Damascus Gate, the entrance to the Muslim quarter of the Old City, they danced, waved Israeli flags and chanted racist slogans, including “Death to Arabs,” “may your village burn” and “a second Nakba* is coming”.
Meanwhile, Palestinians of Jerusalem gathered outside the Damascus Gate to protect their area. However, they were met with violence by Israeli police who shot at the crowd, fired skunk water and beat protesters. Videos showed Israeli police violently snatching Palestinian flags from Palestinian protesters. In one, a Palestinian woman was beaten for holding a Palestinian flag. Meanwhile, Israeli demonstrators waved Israeli flags and chanted racist slogans in the background with police protection.
Aggressive actions by the Israeli police resulted in 33 Palestinian protestors being wounded (including six hospitalisations) and at least 17 were arrested. There were no reports of Israeli demonstrators being arrested. The ‘catastrophe’ of 1948, when thousands of Palestinians were massacred by Zionist militias and over 770,000 were forcibly expelled from their homes.