20th May, 2023 International Relations
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- Israeli nationalists marking the 1967 capture of East Jerusalem were to march through the Muslim quarter of the Old City in an annual parade that Palestinians see as a provocation.
What is Jerusalem Day?
- Israel fought a number of Arab armies in a 1967 war, during which it captured territories including East Jerusalem.
- The annual commemoration can draw crowds in the tens of thousands.
- Israel has since annexed East Jerusalem, in a move that has not won international recognition, and regards the entire city as its eternal and undivided capital.
- Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
- The day’s events culminate with a flag-waving march that cuts through downtown Jerusalem before entering the walled Old City, home to sites holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims.
- In recent years, the parade has increasingly become a show of force for Jewish nationalists, and for Palestinians a blatant provocation meant to undermine their ties to the city.
Cause of tension
- The heavily-policed procession passes through areas that are popular among Palestinians forcing some Arab shopkeepers to close down.
- In the past, it has included some acts of racist incitement and violence.
- Another source of tension has been visits by large groups of Jewish pilgrims, including members of parliament, to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam that Jews revere as the Temple Mount, a vestige of two ancient temples.
- Palestinians say the visits and police enforcement around them are an Israeli attempt to encroach on one of the few places in the city where they sense a degree of sovereignty.
- Jewish visitors are also increasingly violating a decades-old ban on non-Muslim worship on the compound.
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