Far-right Israeli groups will march today with flags around the Old City of East Jerusalem, which may trigger new tensions with the Palestinians and violence between Israel and the Islamic Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian factions regarded the demonstration as a provocation and called for the holding of “Anger Days” in Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas threatened to resume conflict if the demonstration took place.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Steyer wrote on Twitter: “We warn the occupying power that the intention of allowing Israeli extremist immigrants to hold a flag march in the occupied area of Jerusalem tomorrow may lead to dangerous consequences.”
A parade was originally scheduled to be held on May 10 to bypass the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. However, after the tension in Jerusalem, Hamas began to charge towards the Holy City, followed by 11 days of fierce fighting. The Israeli government found itself accused by right-wing groups of changing course to give way to Hamas, and they arranged a new and revised demonstration after the ceasefire.
The parade is scheduled to start at 6:30 in the evening and poses a challenge to the newly appointed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who took office on Sunday and ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-term rule. Bennett’s Secretary of Homeland Security approved the parade.
Changing the course or canceling the march may make Bennett’s messy coalition criticized. Netanyahu is now in the opposition, and his right-wing allies allow Hamas to have veto power over events in Jerusalem. The official route has not yet been announced, but media reports said that participants of the march will gather at the Damascus Gate in the west of the Old City, which is one of the eight gates into the Old City of Jerusalem.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, including the Old City, as the capital of the country they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.