Friday: Thousands to march through Jerusalem for Palestinian state

Thousands of peace and left-wing activists are expected to march through east Jerusalem tomorrow (Friday), among them Hadash and Communist Party of Israel members, in support of an independent Palestinian state ahead of a declaration of statehood at the UN in September.

“After years of Israel talking about peace while building settlements, checkpoints, walls and outposts, the young generation on both sides of the Green Line have begun to realize that they’ve been duped,” said the organizers of Friday’s march, which included members of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.


June 4 demonstration for a Palestinian state in Tel-Aviv (Photo: Al Ittihad)

“Jerusalem is the heart of the Israeli-Arab conflict and it is exactly where we will march. We march – Israelis and Palestinians together – in a joint call for independence and in attempt to put a stop to the Netanyahu government’s crazed and erratic policies that are leading us straight to the political abyss.”

The demonstration will call for recognition of the Palestinian right to an independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital. The demonstration will start at Jaffa Gate at 14:00, march downhill to Damascus Gate, and continue up Highway 1 before concluding in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where the Solidarity movement has held weekly protests for the past year and a half to protest the eviction of three Arab families in August 2009. Organizers noted that the march’s route is a direct inversion of the route taken by Right-wing marchers on Jerusalem Day in the traditional March of Flags.

On Jerusalem Day,  thousands of settlers marched from east Jerusalem, through Sheikh Jarrah and into the Old City, to commemorate the victory of the Six Day War and the “unification” (in fact: the occupation) of East Jerusalem.

Sheikh Jarrah and Damascus Gate were the site of tense clashes between Arab residents and right-wing marchers, who yelled “death to Arabs!” and tried to storm one of the main mosques in Sheikh Jarrah. Over the course of the day, 24 people were arrested and three were injured from rocks.

March organizers were expecting thousands of people to participate, including Knesset Members from Hadash, Meretz and Labor parties Organizers of the Welcome to Palestine “flightilla” said at least 20 activists would also be taking part in Friday’s march.

On June 4, some 25,000 people marched through the streets of Tel Aviv in a demonstration calling for the creation of a Palestinian state. Setting out from the city’s central Rabin Square, protesters affiliated with the Hadash, Meretz, Peace Now, the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement and the Geneva Initiative slowly made their way along an unusually long route to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where a rally was held. Speakers included MKs from the Hadash, Meretz, Labor and Kadima parties.

Accompanied by a small but loud amateur marching band composed of youths from the Communist Party, activists carrying Israeli, Palestinian and red flags marched past Dizengoff center, making their presence known with amplified chants of: “Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples”; “Yes we ‘ken’” (the Hebrew word for “yes”); and “Bibi and Barak, peace isn’t a game,” referring to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by his nickname.