Thousands of Israelis and Arabs march in Jerusalem to support Palestinian independence
Several MKs participate in the 'March for Independence,' the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years.By Nir Hasson Tags: Palestinians Palestinian state Middle East peace
Approximately 2,000 Palestinians and Israelis took part in the "March for Independence" Friday, calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state.
Although the organizers of the march issued a statement saying the march was carried out peacefully, police had to intervene and separate right-wing and left-wing activists.
Jerusalem 'March for Independence', July 15, 2011
|Photo by: Daniel Bar On|
The event was coordinated with the police, and organizers had pledged to prevent any violence from breaking out, despite the expected right-wing counter-protests.
Participants in the march held signs quoting South African leader and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela saying "only free men can negotiate", while others bore slogans calling for support of Palestinian independence.
Several MKs participated in the march, including Zehava Galon of Meretz and Dov Hanin of Hadash. Other prominent public figures took part as well, such as former Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg and former Attorney General Michael Ben Yair.
The march took a symbolic route, following the green line that used to divide East and West Jerusalem before the Six Day War in 1967. It began at Jaffa Gate and ended at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the opposite route taken by right-wing activists during Jerusalem Day last month.
Avner Inbar, Solidarity movement spokesman, said that the declaration of independence in September is "an act of people who crave freedom." He added that "Palestinian independence is not only the natural right of the Palestinian people. It is the only solution that can prevent another wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. This march proves that a joint, Jewish-Arab struggle is the way to end the occupation."