JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel pledged to keep Jerusalem undivided despite Palestinian claims to its eastern half, as Israelis marked the 43d anniversary yesterday of the city’s reunification in the 1967 Mideast War.
The Jewish section of Jerusalem took on a festive mood yesterday with parades and speeches by political leaders, touching lightly on the political explosiveness of the hotly contested city.
Hundreds of youths marched in the annual Jerusalem Day parade from West Jerusalem toward the Old City. Earlier, an extremist Israeli group called the Temple Mount Faithful toted flags and banners through the Old City, demanding that Israel take full control of the hotly disputed holy site where the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound sits atop the ruins of the biblical Jewish Temples. Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven at the site.
Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Israel annexed that sector shortly after the 1967 war, although no other country has recognized the Israeli claim.
Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, said yesterday that the city’s boundaries are “nonnegotiable,’’ while Netanyahu said, “We will never go back to a divided Jerusalem that is cold and torn.’’
The city is a key issue in US-mediated peace efforts that resumed last week after a 17-month standstill.