Jerusalem: Thousands of Israelis marched on Sunday marking Israel’s 49th anniversary of its capture of East Jerusalem across the city. As crowds of Jewish hardliners marched through Jerusalem’s predominantly Palestinian Old City a large number of Israeli police deployed to secure the annual march,which Arabs call the “Naksa” (setback).
The annual march came when Muslims are preparing to begin observing the fasting month of Ramadan, when many Palestinians visit al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City.
It is also known as Jerusalem Day, the anniversary marks the seizure in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexation of East Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.
Every year, police deploy in strength to secure the march, which frequently provokes clashes.
This year, Israeli rights group Ir Amim, appealed to the Israeli supreme Court to change the route so the march would not pass through the Muslim Quarter.
The court rejected the appeal and gave the time limit in case of Ramadan which began on Sunday night.
It said the marchers are required to complete their passage through the Damascus Gate by 6:15 pm and through the Muslim quarter by 7:00 pm.
Some 30,000 demonstrators were expected at the march.
“We shall be there in very large numbers,” Israeli police spokesman Asi Aharoni said. “We have more than 2,000 police just for the Jerusalem Day events.”
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that more than 2,000 police officers were deployed across the route of the march in case of any frictions.
Samri said that two Jewish minors were arrested after they were caught shouting anti-Arab slogans.
Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state. Israelis see all of Jerusalem as their capital.