Controversial Jerusalem march set to go ahead as first test for new Israeli government
A controversial right-wing Flag March through east Jerusalem is set for Tuesday after Israel’s new government green-lighted it on Monday.
Naftali Bennett was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday and this march will be the first real test for his government.
The Minister of Internal Security, Omer Bar-Lev, completed a situation assessment with the participation of the Commissioner, the IDF, the Shin Bet and the National Security Council, according to a statement issued by his office on Monday.
The minister was presented with the operational plans for the flag parade in Jerusalem on Tuesday, the statement added.
“I was under the impression that the police are well prepared and that a great effort has been made to maintain the delicate fabric of life and public safety.” Minister Bar-Lev said in the statement.
The Flag March was planned to take place on May 10 as part of the commemoration of Jerusalem day, but in an unusual move, it was diverted last minute by police not allowing them to go through the Damascus gate and Muslim quarter in the Old City due to the already tense situation in Jerusalem.
The march was eventually canceled minutes after it started in the new route due to Hamas firing rockets on Jerusalem as sirens were heard all over the city.
It is an annual parade where mostly right-wing Jewish groups walk through the Old City of Jerusalem carrying and dancing with Israeli flags to celebrate Israel gaining control of the Western Wall during the 1967 Six-Day War.
This year the march was originally scheduled to take place on Jerusalem Day last month but was canceled as it got underway when Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem.
According to the march organizers, the march will arrive at Damascus gate on Tuesday evening where the marchers will dance with flags and then continue around the walls of the old city and enter through Jaffa gate to the Western Wall.
It’s still unclear what is the exact route of the planned march.
Palestinians have already voiced their concerns that this march could bring back tensions.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the march, calling it “a provocation.”
“We warn of the dangerous repercussions that may result from the occupying Power’s intention to allow extremist Israeli settlers to carry out the Flag March in occupied Jerusalem tomorrow, a provocation and aggression against our people/Jerusalem and its sanctities that must end,” Shtayyeh said in a post to Twitter on Monday.
Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou said the march would be a “fuse for a new explosion to defend Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque,” as he quoted by Hamas’ ‘Aqsa T.V.’ channel on Monday.
The US embassy in Israel issued a travel warning on Monday ahead of the expected march.
“Due to calls for a Jerusalem Flag March and possible counter-demonstrations in Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, U.S. government employees and their family members are prohibited from entering Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday, June 15.
“U.S. citizens can take this into account when making their own travel plans,” the embassy said.
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