Thousands to march through J'lem for Palestinian state

Organizers note that the march’s route is a direct inversion of the route taken by Right-wing marchers on Jerusalem Day.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
July 13, 2011 01:20
3 minute read.
THIS BANNER in Sheikh Jarrah reads: ‘Solidarity – let justice prevail.’

sheikh jarrah protest 58. (photo credit: Adi Inbar)

 
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Thousands of left-wing activists are expected to march through east Jerusalem on Friday in support of an independent Palestinian state ahead of a possible 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.

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“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, 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, tens of thousands of people marched from east Jerusalem, through Sheikh Jarrah and into the Old City, to commemorate the victory of the Six Day War and the unification of 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, and called it an “unprecedented” level of cooperation between the Israeli Leftwing solidarity movement and Palestinian organizations.

Police patrols will be deployed along the length of the route.

Organizers of the Welcome to Palestine “flightilla” said at least 20 activists would also be taking part in Friday’s march.

The activists are taking part in a variety of demonstrations across Israel this week. On Tuesday, they protested in Hebron and Beit Umar, where security personnel used force to disperse the demonstration.

On Wednesday, the activists will be traveling around the Negev and meeting with local Bedouin families from unrecognized villages, said Welcome to Palestine spokesman Dr.

Mazin Qumsiyeh. Some of the volunteers would help rebuild illegal houses that were demolished.

Qumsiyeh refused to give an exact amount for the number of activists on Friday that were able to evade Israeli security and enter the country, but said that the number was less than 100.

A total of 14 activists from last Friday’s “flightilla” were still in detention on Tuesday night, and would return to their countries of origin on Wednesday, said Sabine Haddad, the spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry’s Population, Immigration, and Border Authority.

Police and security forces detained 124 activists who landed in Ben- Gurion Airport last Friday as part of the “flightilla” event, which was designed to focus attention on Israel’s policy of barring foreigners who want to engage in pro-Palestinian protest activities.

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