After weeks of controversy over security concerns, Israeli police approved a flag march organised by right-wing Jewish Israelis including ministers and MKs, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Friday.
Haaretz reported that the flag march would be held on Tuesday, noting that it is planned to pass through the Muslim Quarter in the Holy City and is to arrive at Damascus Gate, a flashpoint of tensions between Palestinians and police in recent months.
The march will travel from Damascus Gate to pass to Jaffa Gate and head towards the Western Wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“We thank the Israel Police, police commissioner and Jerusalem District for their cooperation and are happy that Israeli flags will be flown with pride in all parts of the Old City,” the organisers stated.
According to Haaretz, they added: “We call on all citizens of Israel to join us this Tuesday with Israeli flags, to praise Israeli heroism and dance with joy in Jerusalem.”
Previously, the Israeli security cabinet decided not to hold the flag march, fearing it would infuriate Palestinian resistance in Gaza, who would respond by launching rockets at Israeli targets.
Extremist right-wing Kahanist MKs Itamar Ben-Gvir and May Golden went down to the streets of Jerusalem on Wednesday. However, the Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai banned them from marching to Damascus Gate with the planned flag march the following day.
Shabtai explained that their presence in the Old City would likely incite riots. He also decided, according to Haaretz, to ban Ben-Gvir from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday and Thursday.
Ben Gvir got angry with Shabtai and responded: “It is the death knell of democracy. Instead of dealing with rioters, the police is attacking the immunity of Knesset members who are asking to march through our capital of Jerusalem with the Israeli flag, one hundred metres from a light rail station.”
He added: “The very fact that an MK in Israel cannot march in the Old City is a surrender to Hamas and terrorism; it is a victory of terrorism. Of course, we will not give up Jerusalem, we will not give up the Old City.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Head of Hamas in Gaza Khalil Al-Hayya, warned that if “settler extremism” and the flag march are not reigned in, the “fragile ceasefire could explode.”
At the same time, Hamas’s military wing expressed: “We are closely following the provocative and aggressive actions by the usurpers and their leaders in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque. We warn against harming Al-Aqsa and salute her free defenders in Jerusalem.”
The Israeli occupation police’s aggression on Palestinians and repeated raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque left hundreds wounded among the worshippers.
The Israeli aggression resulted in the Palestinian resistance in Gaza firing rockets at Jerusalem, which led to brutal Israeli attacks on Gaza that lasted 11 days. As a result, more than 250 people were killed in Gaza, including 63 children and 41 women.
(Source / 12.06.2021)