Thursday's protest
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Palestinian residents protest Jerusalem Day
Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flag, signs saying 'wake up from fantasy of unification', say 'city has never been unified… there is no equality in it'. City Council member Meir Margalit calls national holiday 'one big lie'

Some 200 east Jerusalem residents and human rights activists gathered outside the Old City's Damascus gate on Thursday in protest of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in Israel that marks the city's unification.


The protestors carried Palestinian flags and signs that read: "Jerusalem – not a celebration for everyone", "Wake up from the fantasy of unification" and, "Building in the west – demolishing in the east".


Protestor Inad Muhammad Surhi from the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood, told Ynet, "We are here to say one thing – Jerusalem has never been united. Look at the difference between west Jerusalem and the east, and you will see that there is no equality in the city.


"We are here to say that we want Jerusalem to be the capital of two states and that's all. Only then will there be peace for both us and you."

'We want J'lem to be captial of two states' (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)


Jerusalem City Council member Meir Margalit (Meretz) was present at the protest and said, "I am here because I feel that there is one big lie that has been going on for 42 years now, and it is called the unification of the city.


"Someone must burst this bubble. The city is not united; on the contrary, it is more divided than ever. A third of the city's residents are living under siege."


Margalit added that Jerusalem Day is not a holiday for all the city's residents. "Calling it 'Jerusalem Day', as if all the residents are happy with the situation, is one big lie. It could be called 'Jerusalem Day for the Jews'," he said.


Expressing a more extreme attitude, east Jerusalem resident Dajania Afaf told Ynet, "This is not a holiday this is a Nakba day. For me this is the day my parents and my friends's parents were killed in the Nakba of 1948.


"This can't be a holiday for us. Look at what the city is doing in Ras al-Amud and in Silwan. Seventeen people live there in one room and anyone who builds another floor gets it demolished immediately. In Ma'ale Adumim and in the settlements, on the other hand, they give building permits and don't demolish anything."


First published: 05.21.09, 16:00
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