“Occupied Jerusalem at the Center of Palestinian – Israeli Conflict”

On the 38th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip Sunday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei warned of “an explosion” in occupied territories, anti-occupation factions pledged to continue their struggle until liberation, and the PLO parliament-in-exile called for the return of refugees, as the Israeli President Moshe Katsav led a provocative Jerusalem Day parade to mark the unilateral and unrecognized annexation of the Holy City by the occupying power.

On June 5, 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian Sinai and the Syrian Golan Heights in a “preventive” war of aggression.

Thirty-eight years on, the Israeli-occupied Jerusalem was again on Sunday at the center of the Palestinian – Israeli conflict.

Protected by the troops of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), at least 70 Jewish extremists entered Al- Haram Al-Sharif sanctuary early Monday to mark the 38th Israeli occupation of the Old City and east Jerusalem in 1967. Soon clashes erupted with Muslim worshippers.

Haaretz reported that security control was maintained within an hour, with officials of the Waqf Islamic trust working to minimize tensions. The occupation police used stun grenades against the Palestinians throwing stones near the entrance gate to the compound, said police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby.

Police do not believe the events were planned in advance by the Palestinians, Haaretz said. However the ultra-fundamentalist Jewish group Revava, linked to the Kach terrorist group that was banned by Israel, has been trying since three months to storm the Islamic compound with a ten-thousand rally.

Yesterday, the Palestinian Chief Islamic Justice Tayseer al-Tamimi called on the world`s Muslims to observe a day of fasting on Monday in solidarity with Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine.

He warned that extremist Jews planned to storm the mosque on the 38th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of east Jerusalem.

Israel on Sunday was provocative in Jerusalem.

Days after the Israeli 1967 invasion, Israel annexed east Jerusalem. On July 30, 1980, the Knesset passed a bill unilaterally declaring Jerusalem the “unified and eternal capital” of the Hebrew state. The Israeli annexation has not been recognized by any other nation.

Sunday and Monday mark the 38th anniversary, according to the Hebrew calendar, since Israel occupied east Jerusalem on June 7, 1967.

Protected by 3 500 occupation police, the Israeli President Moshe Katsav on Sunday led a provocative Jerusalem Day Jewish parade to mark the unilateral and unrecognized annexation of the Holy City.

“The city of Jerusalem is not just the capital of the state of Israel, it is the heart of the Jewish people,” Israeli tourism minister Avraham Hirschson said on the sidelines of the parade.

Qurei Warns Soto of ‘Explosion’

During a meeting with Alvaro de Soto, the new special peace envoy of the UN Secretary- General, in Ramallah, West Bank, Sunday, Palestinian premier Qurei emphasized the importance of the role of the Untied Nations, which embodies international legitimacy, in assuming its responsibility and securing and protecting the Palestinian people’s rights, WAFA reported.

Expressing deep concern over Israel’s unilateral measures, Qurei warned of the possibility of an explosion of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as a result of the current Israeli expansion of the illegal Jewish settlements in Jerusalem, the continuing construction of the Israeli Wall of Annexation and Expansion to isolate the city from the rest of the West Bank, the ongoing expropriation of Palestinian land, demolition of homes, and the threats of the Jewish terrorists to Islam’s third holiest site in Al-Haram al-Sharif that houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was promised by the United States that “any changes related to the armistice line of 1949–it should come as a part of a mutual agreement between the two sides,” President Mahmoud Abbas cited President George W. Bush as telling him during their summit meeting at the White House late May

Denouncing the Israeli unilateral measured in occupied Jerusalem, Abbas told the US Council on Foreign Relations on May 27: “You cannot have a viable (Palestinian) state without east Jerusalem. What I’m asking for is east Jerusalem, not all of Jerusalem,” he said, adding: “There is an isolation between Jerusalem and various Palestinian towns. I don’t think this will be helpful to peace.”

Meanwhile the Palestinian parliament-in-exile on Sunday marked the anniversary with a renewed call for the return of Palestinian refugees who were forced out of their ancestral homeland by the Zionist paramilitary gangs in 1948.

The National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said in a statement that Palestinian refugees should be granted the right to return to the homes they were forced out from when the Jewish state was established, in accordance with the U.N. Resolution 194 of 1949.

The statement urged the international community to bear its responsibilities and assume its role in achieving the aspired peace by pressuring the Israeli government to implement the accords reached with the Palestinians, the Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported.

In the OPT the anti-occupation factions marked the anniversary with pledges in separate statements to continue their resistance to the Israeli occupation until liberation.