Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The non-festive holiday

"Jerusalem Day" was never a real holiday, never a day when ordinary people felt like celebrating. What's the point on going out into the streets to celebrate the anniversary of "The Unification of Jerusalem" when no such unification ever happened and no one feels that they are living in a united city? When a Jerusalemite can clearly see just crossing Route No. 1 brings you into another country entirely, a Palestinian territory which is definitely not Israel? "Jerusalem Day" was always a holiday of the settlers, who got another welcome opportunity to walk waving flags through Palestinian neighborhoods and demonstrate their force and mastery. Also a holiday of the state media, with paid up reporters speaking with sticky sweetness of "Our Capital's Day of Celebration".

This year, the façade is crumbling, and the government of Israel arrives at "Jerusalem Day" with confusion and disarray. How to assure the Americans that there will be no further settlement construction in East Jerusalem, and at the same time assure the extreme right that there will be plenty of it? Netanyahu was once nicknamed "The Magician", but even a magician can run out of rabbits to pull out of his hat.

This year, "Jerusalem Day" comes when public attention focuses on East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, where Palestinians are expelled from their homes to make place for settlers. This week, eight Israeli activists were put on trial on the serious charge of daring to cry out in protest. Activists will return to be Sheikh Jarrah on "Jerusalem Day "- and not in order to celebrate.

As a public service I add here the text of the call which I got this morning:

What united city are you you're talking about?
There is no holiness in occupation
Jerusalem is not united!
36% of the city's residents live under a regime of oppression and discrimination.
Protest picket at Sheikh Jarrah on "Jerusalem Day"
Wed., May 12 at 4.00 pm
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