Israelis Mark 45 Years of a Reunited Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israelis marked Jerusalem Day on Sunday, the day the city was reunited under its control.

"Israel without Jerusalem is like a body with a weak heart," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"Sustainable peace is made with strong nations, and an Israel without a unified Jerusalem will be like a body with a weak heart," he said.

Netanyahu was speaking at a ceremony at Ammunition Hill on Sunday -- where one of the major battles of the Six Day War took place -- marking the reunification of the nation's capital.

He also said if Israel gave up sovereignty over the Temple Mount, it would lead to a religious war.

"There are those who believe that if we only divide Jerusalem, and that means giving up the Temple Mount, they believe we will have peace," he said.

"I am doubtful, to say the least, that if we deposit that square of the Temple Mount with other forces, that we won't quickly deteriorate to a religious, sectarian war," he said.

Elsewhere, some 50,000 Israeli youth took to the streets of Jerusalem, waving the nation's flag as they marched through the city.

The annual Dance of the Flags commemorates the reuniting of the city under Israeli sovereignty.

Forty-five years ago, Israel recaptured the Old City, its Temple Mount, and east Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.

Palestinians want the eastern part of the city for the capital of a future state. But Netanyahu said Israel would continue to develop its capital.

"For 45 years we have developed and built Jerusalem and will continue to build it," he said.

Police had to separate Palestinian Arab protesters from Israelis as the parade reached the Damascus Gate, a reminder that the battle for the city isn't over yet.

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Julie Stahl

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