Every year, Israel’s far-right nationalist religious camp, currently headed by Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, celebrates Israel’s 1967 conquest of East Jerusalem by parading through Palestinian neighborhoods.
After militarized police units clear the parade route of Palestinians, even from the Muslim Quarter, thousands of Israelis assert their territorial and religious claims to the city with a massive march, dancing and singing victory songs.
The “Jerusalem Day Flag Parade” has long been an annual excuse for Jewish dominionists – those who seek to transform Israel from a democratic ethnocracy into a theocratic ethnocracy – to treat the Palestinians of Jerusalem as they generally treat Palestinians in the rest of the occupied West Bank. That is to say, as detested temporary guests whose eventual planned expulsion is openly discussed.
This year, the flag paraders were bolder about their plans for ethnic cleansing than ever before.
Stickers saying “Kahane was right” – a reference to the late Israeli lawmaker Meir Kahane – are a regular sight at the parade, but this year they were more popular than in previous years.
In the 1980s, when few talked about it openly, Kahane evangelized for the idea of total expulsion of the Palestinians.
It has long been common for marchers to belt out racist songs, including “Zachreni Na,” with its call for ethnic cleansing: “Palestine – May their name be wiped out!”
This year, however, it seemed as if that song was the official anthem of the parade, repeated ecstatically countless times.
As usual, Palestinians who protested the provocations were quickly ejected from the area with force. This year, a small group of liberal Jews tried to block the parade route by linking arms and sitting down at the entrance to the Old City’s iconic Damascus Gate.
Israeli occupation forces removed them from the area with force as well, after first expelling the press, so that the bulk of the violence could occur off camera and go unrecorded.
As in the past, the march ended at the Western Wall plaza – created by Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem’s ancient Moroccan Quarter in the first days of the occupation – where Bennett and other Israeli leaders heaped praise on guest of honor, US businessman Simon Falic.
The Falic family was ostensibly honored for their financial contributions to the so-called Western Wall Heritage Foundation. But they could just as easily have been feted for having been the top funders of Lehava, an anti-miscegenation group that works to prevent mixed marriages between Jews and Palestinians.
The far right’s vanguard group, Lehava’s presence at the march notably increases each year.
David Sheen is an independent writer and filmmaker. Born in Toronto, Canada, Sheen now lives in Dimona. His website is www.davidsheen.com and he can be followed on Twitter: @davidsheen.
Israel refuses entry to UN special investigator Wibisono
“Israel remains the only country for which a special investigator is permanently assigned.” (yawn)
JERUSALEM POST – Israel last week refused entry to the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinians territories Makarim Wibisono, who is working on a report human rights violations in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza that he plans to submit to the 70th session of the General Assembly when it during its fall session in New York.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said, “Israel cooperates with most human rights mechanisms of the UN. Israel does not cooperate with unfair and unbalanced mandates such as the UNHRC rapporteur’s mandate and consequently his entry to Israel is not allowed.”
Israel remains the only country for which a special investigator is permanently assigned. The investigator is mandated to focus on Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians and is not assigned to explore Palestinian ones.
Xabier Celaya from the media unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that Wibisono had hoped to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories from June 9 to 12.
Instead he conducted his investigation from neighboring Amman, Jordan.
Wibisono had made a similar visit to Jordan and Cairo in September 2014, where he met with Palestinian officials, as well as with religious and community leaders as well as representatives from civic society, Celaya said.
“Since taking up his mandate in June 2014 Mr. Makarim Wibisono has sought Israel’s cooperation with his mandate, including access to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and meetings with Israeli officials. His requests to access Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in order to carry out his mandate have not received a formal response from the Government of Israel,” Celaya said.
He explained that the position of special investigator to the Palestinian territories was first created in 1993 and that Wibisono of Indonesia is the sixth person since then to hold that post.
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry said that Israel’s decision to deny Wibisono access was an attempt to hide its crimes in the Palestinian territories, according to the Palestinian News and Information Agency (WAFA).
Earlier in the month, Wibisono spoke out against Israeli plans to relocate Palestinian Beduin communities in the West Bank, such as in the South Hebron Hills and the areas around Jerusalem and the Ma’aleh Adumim settlements, where many of their homes are illegally constructed.
“I am alarmed at indications that the roll-out of plans, which in their full effect are believed to entail the forced eviction and forcible transfer of thousands of people, contrary to international human rights law and international humanitarian law, now appears imminent,” Wibisono said.
MIDDLE EAST MONITOR