Hundreds of Jews and Arabs March in Jerusalem Against Israeli Occupation

Rally comes hours after stabbing attack in Jerusalem, which organizers say 'was a painful reminder of the price of the occupation.'

Over a thousand Jews and Arabs march in Jerusalem to protest Israeli occupation, April 1, 2017.
Over a thousand Jews and Arabs march in Jerusalem to protest Israeli occupation, April 1, 2017. Olivier Fitoussi

Hundreds of Jews and Arabs are taking part in a Jerusalem march against the occupation. 

Saturday's event is the first in a series organized by Standing Together, an umbrella movement consisting of pro-peace organizations and left-wing parties, marking 50 years since the Six-Day War. The rally is meant to "protest against the continued Israeli control over the territories and especially East Jerusalem, and in favor of a peaceful solution and justice for both peoples," the movement said in a statement.

Over a thousand Jews and Arabs march in Jerusalem to protest Israeli occupation, April 1, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

Earlier Saturday, a Palestinian was shot dead after wounding two civilians and a border policeman with a knife in Jerusalem's Old City. 

One of the organizers, Itamar Avneri, said the incident "was a painful reminder of the price of the occupation. We convey wishes of swift recovery to the wounded, and hope we don't see any more such incidents or fear on the city's streets. This has to end."

The march began at Gan Hasus in the city's center and concluded in the Old City with a rally near Jaffa Gate.

Knesset Member Zehava Galon, the chairwoman of the Meretz party, addressed the rally, saying: "We can't keep the conflict with the Palestinians on the back burner, when the flame is on top of a barrel bomb. The stabbing attack in the Old City exposes the illusion that it's possible to deprive an entire people of rights and sovereignty without the desperation turning into horrible hatred and violence."

Mohammed Abu Hummus, the head of the popular committee of Isawiyah in East Jerusalem, urged "anyone who believes in the Palestinian people to stand against the racist [Israeli] government.

"The left needs to step up and help, take to the streets and demand change," he added.

Over a thousand Jews and Arabs march in Jerusalem to protest Israeli occupation, April 1, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

Avi Buskila, director of Peace Now, expressed hope for unity: "The rightist settler government and the occupation want hatred to take over hearts and control the streets, with Jews hating Arabs, Mizrahim hating Ashenazim, rightists despising leftists, Ofakim hating Tel Aviv. They are afraid because they know we will win, all of us, Jews and Palestinians, Jerusalemites and Tel Avivians, Mizrahim and Ashkenazim, Ethiopians and Russians, men and women, all of us together will win."