Many Israelis saw their victory nearly 20 years later as a long-deferred finale to the earlier conflict. Once again they had access to the holiest Jewish site: the plateau that Jews revere as the Temple Mount, which abuts the Western Wall and lies atop the ruins of the ancient Jewish temples.
"We were talking two completely different languages," recalled Dakkak, the Palestinian builder. "They were thinking they were liberating the land, and we were thinking they were occupying the land."
In the aftermath of the 1967 Middle East War, Mayor Teddy Kollek proposed adding little more than the Old City to his West Jerusalem municipality, ensuring a solid Jewish majority for the unified city. But Israeli officials said they wanted to make the city easier to defend. They added 27 square miles, more than doubling the municipality's size.
"We decided Jerusalem should never be surrounded or blockaded again," said Reuven Rivlin, an Israeli lawmaker who is a former speaker of parliament.
Much of the world considers the added areas to be occupied land; Israel says it was legally annexed.
New city boundaries zigzagged to exclude most residential areas of 28 Palestinian villages, while taking in much of their open land. Still, along with the new turf came 68,600 Palestinians, more than a quarter of the enlarged city's 266,300 residents.
With remarkable speed, suburban-style Jewish neighborhoods began sprouting in East Jerusalem, mostly on expropriated land. Neat rows of pale, stone-sided apartment blocks and tile-roofed houses lined streets carved into the hillsides, many within earshot of Palestinian villagers.
Israel Kimhi, an advisor to several Israeli prime ministers and research director at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, a think tank, said the waves of government-financed building had several strategic aims. For instance, by building French Hill north of the Old City in the early 1970s, Israel linked isolated Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus to the rest of the city. Neve Yaakov, farther north, and Gilo in the south were designed as buffers between West Jerusalem and West Bank cities.
Then, in the mid-1980s, Israel began building roads to the north, east and south and a ring of West Bank settlements outside Jerusalem's boundaries. Israeli authorities said the new communities would help defend the city. Maale Adumim grew in the eastern hills leading to the Jordan Valley, and Givat Zeev arose in the northwest.
Some of these settlements blossomed into towns of tens of thousands of residents, complete with shopping centers. The strategy made sense to many Israelis.
"They started with the closest circle, then moved to the outer rings," said Maurice Shneor, a customs supervisor who fought for Israel in 1967 and lives in West Jerusalem. "You build circles of defense, take strategic locations, occupy high ground. What do you do when you acquire a plot of land? You mark your territory. Israel did the same thing."
But the new masters of the land unwittingly took steps that helped turn the demographic tide against them.
The settlements built outside Jerusalem attracted growing families who were leaving the city in search of bigger, cheaper homes. The government-funded construction drained the city's economy and strained its services, accelerating a Jewish middle-class flight.
The boom also attracted an influx of Palestinian construction workers, which Israel did little to curb. These workers married into East Jerusalem families or found other ways to stay, and soon they outnumbered the city's native Palestinian population.
Palestinians now represent about a third of Jerusalem's 732,100 residents, and demographers say that if the trend continues, they could be the majority in two generations. More Jews are moving out of Jerusalem than moving in, but the opposite is true for Palestinians. And Palestinians have a slightly higher birthrate.
Today, Israel's pledge to never divide the city is often interpreted as reflexive sloganeering.
"For many years, it was said that the only consensus in Israel was the consensus on Jerusalem, that it should be united under Israeli sovereignty and nonnegotiable," said Ora Ahimeir, director of the Jerusalem Institute. "But reality brought an awakening and a realization that the immediate post-'67 reality was sort of artificial, that unification was not full unification."
Amirav, the former paratrooper, is one of those who has changed his views. Once a fervent advocate of the right of Jews to settle all of biblical Israel, he now believes Israel should yield on Jerusalem in the interests of peace.