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Despite terror threats, annual Jerusalem Day Flag March will pass through Muslim Quarter, says Netanyahu

The flag parade has served as a pretext for conflict, such as 2021 when Hamas launched over 4,000 rockets into Israel

Israelis dance during the March of Flags at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Photo: Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that the traditional Flag March on Jerusalem Day this Thursday, which is usually joined by tens of thousands of marchers, mostly from Israel’s national-religious community, will be allowed to pass through Old City’s Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem.

“The Flag March will continue as planned, as usual, on its route,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with his Likud political party.

Israel is expected to deploy more than 2,000 police officers to protect marchers and keep the peace during the procession, which has been the source of tensions each year. Tensions this year are expected to be higher than usual, due to the recently-established ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad faction after five days of fighting and more than 1,500 rockets lobbed at Israel from the Gaza strip. 

According to Ahmed Fouad, an academic specializing in Israeli affairs and a member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs, “The true test of the ceasefire’s stability lies in the flag march, which is expected to cause clashes if it passes through the Muslim Quarter.”

The Jerusalem Day Flag March, in fact, has served as a pretext for conflict, as in 2021, when the Hamas terrorist group used it to launch over 4,000 rockets into Israel. The Israeli military responded with what became an 11-day military campaign called Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Several Palestinian factions have already threatened that they will attack Israel on Jerusalem Day, according to Arab media, which reported on Monday that the factions were threatening a new “powerful campaign.” 

According to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, the factions opined that they were capable of starting a new campaign to “prevent the change of reality” at the al-Aqsa Mosque. 

Palestinian factions also said that they might start a campaign over Jerusalem that “would be more powerful, on a wider scale, use more firepower, and would not be limited to the Gaza front. They also emphasized their alertness regarding any development on the Temple Mount and clarified that the issue of the flag march in Jerusalem was not addressed in the recent ceasefire,” according to i24news reports in Israel.

“Palestinian campaigns on social media platforms are now urging the thwarting of the flag parade. Clerics are disseminating videos calling for action against Jews marching in Jerusalem’s Old City, including demonstrations, protest rallies, and a procession from Damascus Gate to the Temple Mount featuring Palestinian flags are being advocated. They are also encouraging confrontations with Israeli soldiers at potential flashpoints," according to the Jewish News Syndicate.

Meanwhile, Sec.-Gen. Hassan Nasrallah of Lebanon's Hezbollah organization, an Iranian proxy terrorist organization which has vowed to eradicate Israel, claimed that Netanyahu had “attacked Gaza in an attempt to escape the internal division [in Israel] and attend to his coalition's dissolution.” 

Nasrallah referred to the assassinations of a number of senior Islamic Jihad military commanders over the last week and commended the leadership of Islamic Jihad and the various Palestinian factions, saying: “Like the other Palestinian resistance factions, the Islamic Jihad has the ability to find a replacement for any military or political leaders lost in the battlefield."

Nasrallah expressed the terrorist group’s staunch support of the Palestinian factions.

“We are in constant contact with the leadership of the resistance in Gaza, and we will not hesitate to assist at any time that responsibility requires it," he added.

Hezbollah is not necessarily making empty threats. In April, the Iranian proxy group opened an offensive against Israel, sending more than 30 rockets against Israel – most of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense systems – in the largest Hezbollah offensive against the Jewish state since 2006, most of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense systems.

Jerusalem Day in Israel marks the capture and annexation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and is a celebration of that event. The parade is viewed by Palestinian factions as a nationalist Jewish provocation, aimed at “Judaizing” the city.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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