A tense Jerusalem braces for Israeli ‘flag march’

A tense Jerusalem braced for Israel’s “flag march” on Sunday as Palestinian teams threatened retaliation over the annual rally that sparked a struggle final 12 months.

Israel deployed 3,000 police on the day that marks its 1967 seize of east Jerusalem, residence of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound positioned on what Jews revere because the Temple Mount.

Flag-waving Jewish nationalists chanting pro-Israel slogans, amongst them a far-right lawmaker, within the morning visited Al-Aqsa, the place Israeli police stated a number of Palestinians threw rocks towards the officers.

Remoted clashes additionally broke out on the Outdated Metropolis’s Damascus Gate the place dozens of Jewish nationalists danced in entrance of Palestinians, certainly one of whom raised his shoe in an Arab insult. Police reported 18 arrests over “disorderly conduct”.

Throughout annexed east Jerusalem, many Palestinian flags flew from rooftops forward of the “Jerusalem Day” march because of begin at 4:00 pm (1300 GMT).

The march final 12 months sparked unrest that led the Islamist armed group Hamas to fireplace rockets from the blockaded Gaza Strip, triggering an 11-day struggle.

Hamas warned final week that marchers should not go by means of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, saying it might use all means to confront them.

The route of the march has by no means included Al-Aqsa, a website which Jewish teams are permitted to go to however the place they don’t seem to be allowed to hope.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated Sunday the march can be held “alongside the common route” and urged members to be “respectful”.

Professional-Israel chants

Police stated that within the morning some 1,800 individuals ascended to the compound throughout an everyday visitation window — greater than regular, however made up principally of vacationers.

Some Jews had “violated visitation guidelines” and several other individuals have been detained, police stated with out offering additional particulars, earlier than the day’s time window for visits concluded.

One group sang pro-Israel chants together with “Yerushalayim rak shelanou” or “Jerusalem belongs to us solely”.

Far-right nationalist lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, who was amongst those that went to Al-Aqsa, later stated his go to aimed “to reaffirm that we, the State of Israel, are sovereign” within the Holy Metropolis.

Many of the worldwide group doesn’t recognise Israeli management over east Jerusalem, which Palestinians see because the capital of a future state.

Some members in Sunday’s march have been set to go by means of Damascus Gate on their solution to the Western Wall, a controversial route for which police power Palestinians’ companies to shut.

Israel has since April been hit by a sequence of assaults concentrating on principally civilians and has in flip launched army raids concentrating on armed teams within the occupied West Financial institution.

Regardless of the current violence, tensions have been extra muted within the run-up to Sunday’s rally in comparison with final 12 months.

Worry of struggle

Safety analyst Shlomo Mofaz judged that Bennett was betting on the chance that for now “Hamas doesn’t have any curiosity in one other struggle”.

“The principle coverage of Hamas as we speak is to encourage individuals inside Israel (to assault), whereas they proceed to reconstruct the Gaza Strip,” stated the previous intelligence officer.

Some observers imagine unrest might be fuelled by fallout from final week’s killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards colonel Sayyad Khodai in Tehran.

Based on The New York Occasions, Israel has knowledgeable the US that the Jewish state’s operatives have been liable for gunning him down.

With out addressing Khodai’s killing, Bennett stated that “the period of the Iranian regime’s immunity is over … Whoever arms terrorists … can pay the complete value”.

Iran backs Hamas, and Mofaz argued that Tehran could “encourage” Palestinian armed factions to launch rockets at Israel.

Gaza resident Mohamed Al Moughrabi, 20, stated that though worry of a brand new struggle was excessive, he anticipated that “the state of affairs won’t be like final 12 months”.

(AFP)

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