The march is supposed to start in the western part of the city at 16:00 (13:00 GMT), and it is one of the demonstrations organized by Israel on the occasion of “Jerusalem Day” to commemorate the “reunification” of the city after the occupation of its eastern part after the June 1967 war. .
The march this year takes place in an atmosphere of tension after several tensions since the beginning of the year between Israelis and Palestinians, all of which resulted in the death of about two hundred people, including 35 during a five-day escalation between the Israeli army and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip from 09 to 13 May.
On Wednesday, the official spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, warned Israel against “insisting on organizing a provocative flag march for settlers in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem,” as a large number of Palestinian merchants closed their shops to avoid being vandalized on the sidelines of the march.
Abu Rudeineh said that the decision to organize the march “confirms the Israeli government’s approval of the views of Jewish extremists,” stressing that it will only lead to “tension and explosive situations.”
The procession, which passes through the Old City in East Jerusalem, is supposed to end at the Western Wall, located below Al-Aqsa Square adjacent to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
The Israeli authorities prevent Jews from praying in Al-Aqsa Square, but the number of extremist nationalists who stopped to pray in the place increased during the past years, which the Palestinians denounce and consider it a “provocation”, and often raises tensions.
The Israeli police condemned “false information” about the passage of the flag march through the Temple Mount, and issued a statement confirming that “the (authorized) path has been the same for decades and will not be different” this year.
“incitement to violence”
The police statement warned of “violations of public order” and condemned the campaign of “incitement to violence” organized by “Iran” and spread by the Lebanese Hezbollah or Palestinian factions such as Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
On Wednesday, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which controls the Gaza Strip, condemned “the Zionist occupation’s campaign against our people in occupied Jerusalem under the pretext of ensuring the security of the flag march.”
In 2020, on the day set for the march, and after violence between Israel and the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Hamas launched a barrage of rockets into Israel, and an 11-day war ensued between the two sides.
In 2022, clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces during the March of the Flags, resulting in at least 79 injuries.
This year, the Israeli police announced that it had deployed 2,500 men to Jerusalem to ensure public order.
In the morning, dozens of Jews, as usual, went under police escort to the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque after the dawn prayer, according to pictures broadcast by Israeli television.
“I am happy to see thousands come to celebrate on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem,” said Public Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who is expected to participate in the march. “.
And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed in a video recording released by his office that Israel is “committed to preserving the security of Jerusalem.”
He added, “The threats do not stop, but our ability to confront our enemies and ensure our security in Jerusalem and throughout the country is permanent.”