Thursday, May 09, 2002

Jerusalem Day
Tal G. in Jerusalem reports:

It's Yom Yerushalayim, which is the anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. Last night traffic was rerouted thru downtown, which was quite aesthetically lit with white lights above all the streets (a nice touch that I don't remember from previous years). There was also a parade and a concert that I could hear from my apartment.

Obviously, the conquest of the eastern parts of Jerusalem coincides with the beginning of the "occupation" ... so here's a few things worth knowing: In 1948 the Israelis were largely victorious against the combined Arab forces; but 2 regions that fell were the eastern parts of Jerusalem(including the Western Wall, the Jewish quarter of the walled city, the Hebrew University campus) and the Gush Ezyon region, which were essentially annexed by Jordan. The Jewish communities of those regions were forced to flee, but were resettled rather than forced to languish in refugee camps.

The 1949 ceasefire lines were just that - ceasefire lines. They never constituted an internationally recognized border. The period of 1948-1967 was (I think) probably the first time since antiquity that the walled city of Jerusalem was fully off-limits to Jewish presence and worship. Most Israelis feel little connection to the Arab neighborhoods of Eastern Jerusalem: Abu Dis, Wadi Joz etc. but I think I can say that the walled city, and the ancient city of David are central to our collective memory.