East Jerusalem - A Palestinian in occupied East Jerusalem is breaking boundaries by suing the Israeli government in hopes of becoming the first Palestinian to run for mayor in Israel's municipal elections in Jerusalem next month. Aziz Abu Sarah, 38, announced his intention to run for mayor last week, as part of the Palestinian-run Al-Quds Lana ("Jerusalem is ours") list, which is contending for seats at Jerusalem's city hall in October. Israeli law forbids Palestinians in East Jerusalem from running for the post of mayor because they are not considered Israeli citizens. Therefore, Abu Sarah has decided to sue the Israeli government in Israel's High Court over the law. "I'm putting Israel to the test," Abu Sarah told Al Jazeera.
On this day, Israel is celebrating what it calls "Jerusalem Day", when it occupied East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan. The annual celebration is a day when right wing, mostly young Israelis, rampage around East Jerusalem's Old City, carrying Israeli flags, and shouting anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racist slogans. Some of the chants include calls for the death, destruction, and complete elimination of Palestinians in Jerusalem, such as "Death to the Arabs". Large groups often parade through the Muslim Quarter of the old city and provoke residents by banging on Palestinian stores and homes. Israel - which captured the western half of Jerusalem in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war - frames the day as the "reunification" of the east and west of its capital.
Next month, a French initiative to revive peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis is expected to take place in Paris. The new initiative, however, is being held against the background of tensions that have boiled over into violence since October in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the blockaded Gaza Strip. During this period, the Israeli army has killed at least 206 Palestinians, including protesters, bystanders and alleged attackers, while 33 Israelis were killed in stabbing and shooting incidents. Detached from the reality of hostility are dozens of joint Israeli-Palestinian peace-building NGOs - and other highly creative ventures - who are working "to overcome challenges and foster tolerance in the absence of political reconciliation". Focusing on dialogue, social change and cooperation, activists say they are working to humanise "the other" and to construct peace on the personal level.
Jerusalem - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US embassy move to Jerusalem as a "glorious" day in Israel's history to a crowd of about 800 officials and dignitaries. The ceremony took place on Monday after at least 55 Palestinian protesters were killed and more than 2,400 wounded as Israeli forces opened live fire on them in Gaza. Speaking from the newly designated building in Jerusalem's Arnona neighbourhood, Netanyahu lauded US President Donald Trump for keeping his campaign promise to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv, saying the bond between the two countries is "stronger than ever". "President Trump, by recognising history you have made history," the Israeli prime minister said. "This is a good day for peace, too.