J'lem March draws some 70,000 people

Jerusalem March proceeds

Some 70,000 people attended the annual Jerusalem March, which, under heavy security following the recent Arab riots in the capital, ended without incident on Tuesday afternoon. The march began on Tuesday morning with a 12-kilometer route going from Ammunition Hill to Mount Scopus and then passing by many of the east Jerusalem neighborhoods that straddle the Old City before reaching Sacher Park. With some 2,000 police officers deployed throughout the capital, thousands of participants then marched from the park, near the Nahlaot neighborhood, to the Carta parking lot, opposite the Old City's Jaffa Gate. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke at the march, saying that he did not believe the clashes in the eastern suburbs of the city between young Arab rioters and Israeli security forces would turn into a Third Intifada. Barkat thanked those who participated in the march and expressed hope that "provocations" in the city would be cast aside. He added that any disquiet in the suburbs of Jerusalem would be dealt with on a local level, asserting that violence in the holy city was "not in the best interests of Israel or the Palestinians." "The entire Muslim population [of Jerusalem] was able to observe Ramadan in peace last month," said Barkat. "Now the Muslims must allow the Jews to celebrate their own holidays," he concluded, echoing sentiments communicated on Monday by Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Aharon Franco. Abe Selig contributed to this report