Today, Israel observes the 46th anniversary of the annexation of East Jerusalem, according to the Hebrew Calendar - in flagrant violation of international law.
In the course of June 1967 war, Jerusalem in its entirely was occupied by Israeli forces. Hundreds of Palestinian homes were demolished in the Old City's Maghrebi Quarter, its residents evicted in order to facilitate the construction of an expanded Jewish Quarter and a plaza in front of the Wailing Wall. For that purpose Israeli bulldozers levelled 135 Palestinian houses.
Israel confiscated the keys to the Magharbeh Gate (western gate of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound) and has not yet returned them to the Islamic Waqf.
On June 28th the Israeli Government decided to annex East Jerusalem, illegally declared the city as its “eternal, unified and indivisible capital”. Knesset empowered the Government to extend Israeli law, jurisdiction and public administration over the area of the “Land of Israel”. On that day, Israel cleared away the wall barriers separating the two sectors of Jerusalem, and allowed citizens of the city to cross over to the other side. Palestinians, who owned properties in West Jerusalem, were thus able to "see back" their usurped properties for the first time since the Nakbah.
It is worthwhile mentioning that Israel annexed the “territory” but not the citizens of Jerusalem, in the sense that they were forced to carry Israeli IDs - but not the nationality. The Arabs of East Jerusalem have obligations, are tax payers, but no rights.
As of yesterday morning Israeli settlers keep roaming in the streets of East Jerusalem, hoisting Israeli flags, in a very provocative manner. This morning the Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Hussein was arrested on his way to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
This afternoon Damascus Gate Plaza was the scene of violent confrontations between Palestinian youth and Israeli police using brutal measures - while Israeli settlers are seen dancing, chanting, hoisting flags. Many were beaten, arrested, even TV cameramen were attacked.
At 6 pm large throngs of Israeli settlers - together with Likud Party members - are expected to enter the Old City - in an obvious attempt to confirm the Jewish character of Jerusalem.
All Arab owned shops are closed.