Netanyahu: Israel Will Expand Further Into West Bank
Israel is marking 42 years of what it considers to be the reunification of Jerusalem. For many, it’s a day of liberation, reinforcing what they say is their rightful ownership of land, even if it means forcing thousands of Palestinians out of their homes. Jacky Rowland reports. (2:42):
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Thursday that all of Jerusalem would always remain under Israeli sovereignty, in comments likely to spark consternation among Palestinians who hope to make the city the capital of a future state.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, a city reunified so as never again to be divided,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony to mark Jerusalem Day in the city’s Mercaz Harav yeshiva. “Our people’s unparalleled affinity to Jerusalem has spanned thousands of years, and is at the basis of our national renaissance. It has united our people, secular and religious people alike.”
The Mercaz Harav rabbinic college is the most prominent yeshiva in the religious Zionist world. It was central in shaping the evolution of religious Zionism. In March last year, a Palestinian gunman gained entrance to the yeshiva and killed eight students. >>>
Thousands of people, many waving Israeli flags, staged a parade in Jerusalem to celebrate the city’s “reunification,” while about 200 Palestinians and Israeli left-wing activists took part in a protest sit-in at the Old City’s Damascus gate, chanting “No to occupation, yes to peace.”
Israeli MPs from the ruling right-wing coalition on Thursday submitted a bill aimed at blocking any concessions to Palestinians on the status of Jerusalem.
The projected legislation would require any change in the city’s boundaries to have the backing of a majority of 80 of the 120 parliamentary deputies, as compared with 61 at present.
The MPs said the aim is to “guarantee the unity of the city.”
The previous government had indicated the Jewish state might be willing to give up sovereignty on some Arab neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem.
But the Netanyahu’s government, which was sworn in on March 31, has ruled this out.
Jerusalem’s population currently stands at 760,800, with 492,400 Jews and 268,400 Arabs, according to a report published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies this week.
Some 74 percent of Arab children in Jerusalem live below the poverty line, compared with 48 percent of Jewish children, the study said.
The mortality rate among the Palestinian population stood at 5.1 deaths per 1,000, compared with 2.7 deaths per 1,000 among the Jewish population.
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