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A Day of Mourning Called Jerusalem Day

Today we are supposed to celebrate this day by law. No person of conscience can do this.One day Jerusalem Day will become a national day of mourning. The flags will be lowered to half-mast. The sirens will wail and Israelis will stand at attention in memory of their vanished dream. The 28th of Iyar will enter Israel’s mourning-day calendar, sandwiched between the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Tisha B’Av – a day to commemorate the destruction of the dream that falls before the day commemorating the destruction of the Temple.
On Jerusalem Day Israelis will mark the end of their 19 short years of innocence and the beginning of their state’s institutional, systematic malevolence. They won’t understand how for years they dared to celebrate the occupation day as a national holiday set by law and how they could see Jerusalem, the city symbolizing more than anything else their state’s tyranny and racism, as the object of their desire. When that happens, if it happens, we’ll know – society has recovered. It has recovered from its fatal disease.
Only a small portion of Israelis mark Jerusalem Day today. To most of them it means nothing, whether they’re secular, ultra-Orthodox or Arab. The belle of the ball also doesn’t really interest most Israelis. When was the last time you visited it for pleasure? When were you at the Western Wall? And why should you be?
This holiday was and remains the religious chauvinists’ holiday, celebrated by a bullying, screeching minority, who mark it in their characteristic manner. They celebrate Jerusalem’s only joy – gloating at others’ misfortunes – with a march of flags based wholly on the satisfaction of stomping on the remnants of dignity of the other nation to whom Jerusalem also belongs.
A poor city, filthy and neglected, which secular Jews leave as fast as they can, which the Palestinians cling to with all their meager strength and which religious, chauvinistic, extremist Jews have long taken over. It’s a city that sends its settler metastases into every Palestinian neighborhood, merely to bring misery, to dispossess, to oppress and to evict. And all this is done under the auspices of the authorities, including the judiciary, Israel’s most enlightened authority.
This is a blatantly binational city, which could have been a paradigm of coexistence in one democratic state, a sort of pilot for establishing relative justice. Instead it has been turned, due to Israeli greed for real estate and messianism, into the essence of Israeli dispossession, aggression, abuse and arrogance.
The day of “liberation” of this unbearable city, which is the day of its occupation, is the day that turned it into what it now is, a concrete monster and an occupation Moloch. Today we are supposed to celebrate this day by law. No person of conscience can do this.
I loved Jerusalem when I was young. Even in the short hangover period after the ‘67 orgy, which infected almost all of us, we were still captivated by its astounding beauty. At the time we still believed what they sold us – that the city was “liberated” and “united” forever and that the Viennese liberal, Teddy Kollek, was an enlightened conqueror.
But soon its beauty was mutilated beyond recognition, nothing remained, and the inevitable sobering began. Only the blind and ignorant can still enjoy it today. Who can take pleasure in visiting a city where the occupation screams from every stone?
With the most racist soccer team in the league and the most chauvinistic mayor in local government – neither by chance – Jerusalem has become the symbol of the occupation, the most convincing evidence of its apartheid. More than a third of Jerusalem’s residents — 37 percent — are Palestinians, who should have had equal rights, but are being subjugated in every possible way. It is no accident that here, of all places, is where the desperate uprising of loners was born, the third intifada.
It could have been different. Had Israel recognized the Palestinians as equals to the Jews and the Palestinian people as having equal rights in the city, today we’d have a different Jerusalem and a different Israel. But Israel never overcame the temptation. Forty-nine years ago today it conquered part of the city and since then has done everything to turn it into a moral ruins.
And this is what we’ll be mourning one day, on Jerusalem Day.

Gideon Levy
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.723116Schermata 2016 06 05 alle 15.12.10

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Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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