Israel says right-wing march can be held next week in Jerusalem's Old City

Published June 9, 2021
Israeli Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir waves to soldiers after visiting the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in the Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday. — AP
Israeli Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir waves to soldiers after visiting the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in the Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday. — AP

Israeli officials said on Tuesday they would allow a right-wing march in Jerusalem's Old City to go ahead next week under certain conditions, a day after police barred the event's route fearing it would rekindle violence between Israel and Palestinian fighters in Gaza.

Several right-wing Israeli groups had planned a flag-waving procession through the walled Old City's Damascus Gate and into its Muslim quarter on Thursday, drawing warnings from Gaza's rulers Hamas of renewed hostilities should it proceed.

The far-right groups cancelled the Thursday march after police denied them a permit. But following a meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet on Tuesday, his office said ministers had agreed the march could be held next week if organisers and police reached an agreement. The principal issue is the route.

“The parade will take place this coming Tuesday (June 15) in a format to be agreed between the police and the parade's organisers,” a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

Netanyahu faces an end to his long hold on power on Sunday when the country's legislature is scheduled to vote on approving a government of diverse parties that came together to unseat him.

If that vote is successful, it will be up to prime minister-hopeful Naftali Bennett and his partner opposition leader Yair Lapid to decide whether to proceed with the march.

Tal Schneider, a leading political reporter in Israel, said on Twitter: “The flag parade has been postponed to June 15, two days after the government is sworn in, meaning it will be Naftali Bennett's headache.”

Tensions are likely to remain high in Jerusalem whether or not the march goes ahead. Protests have flared in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families face forced eviction after an Israeli court accepted Jewish settler land claims.

Far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir rejected the march's postponement as a “surrender to Hamas”, saying on Twitter he would still “arrive on Thursday in the Old City of Jerusalem and march with Israeli flags”.

An original march on May 10 was re-routed at the last minute as tensions in Jerusalem led Hamas to fire rockets towards the holy city. Israel responded with air strikes, and the most serious cross-border fighting with Hamas in years raged for 11 days before a fragile ceasefire was reached.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem, in a move that has not won international recognition, after capturing the area in the 1967 Middle East war. It considers all of Jerusalem its capital.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they seek to establish in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Opinion

Editorial

1971 in retrospect
Updated 28 Nov, 2022

1971 in retrospect

The point of no return came when the military launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971.
Gender-based violence
28 Nov, 2022

Gender-based violence

IT is a war without boundaries and seemingly without end. A UN report on femicide released on Nov 25, the...
Battle against dacoits
28 Nov, 2022

Battle against dacoits

THE Punjab police is clearly fighting a formidable, and so far losing, battle against the criminal gangs based in ...
Policy rate hike
Updated 27 Nov, 2022

Policy rate hike

The decision to hike the policy rate by 100bps is a step in the right direction, even if intended to appease the IMF.
Vawda’s reprieve
27 Nov, 2022

Vawda’s reprieve

FAISAL Vawda should be relieved. After years of running from a reckoning for submitting a false declaration in his...
Gujarat’s ghosts
27 Nov, 2022

Gujarat’s ghosts

TWO decades have passed since the bloody Gujarat riots, one of the worst spasms of anti-Muslim violence witnessed in...