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THE WEEK AHEAD: Israel celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem, UN marks the establishment of the Jewish state as Palestinian 'Day of Catastrophe' and Erdogan could be ousted in Turkey

Here are the stories we are watching...

Israelis hold Israeli flags and dance during the March of Flags at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)







An Egyptian-negotiated ceasefire went into effect Saturday night, ending for now five days of intense conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

More than 1,200 missiles were fired over the five-day period from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory.

The Israel Defense Forces launched "Operation Arrow and Shield” to target top commanders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group. The PIJ organization is known for getting its marching orders from Iran. The regime in Tehran has been pressuring its Gaza proxy to retaliate against the Israeli strikes. Hamas has so far decided not to join this round of fighting and to stay out of the battle.

As a new week begins, people in the region are wondering how long the the ceasefire will last and if the fighting begins again could it escalate to include Hamas' involvement or even an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. If there is any upside to the tense security situation, it is the sense of national unity that it has aroused in Israel. Politicians from the coalition and the opposition have been presenting a unified front against terror. This stands in stark contrast to the country’s deep divisions and waves of protest over the judicial reform that has persisted for the last 19 consecutive weeks of protests.


Jerusalem Day is a national holiday in Israel that commemorates the reunification of the holy city and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City after the Six-Day War. On June 7, 1967, Jewish people regained access to the Western Wall, the last remaining outer wall of Solomon's Temple, after 20 years under Jordanian occupation.

On that day, then-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared: “We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour – and with added emphasis at this hour – our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights.”

Israel’s sovereignty over the eastern part of Jerusalem is not internationally recognized to this day. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Nevertheless, Israelis celebrate their capital every year on 28th of Iyar, according to the Hebrew calendar, which happens to fall on a Friday this year. For that reason, festive events in the city will take place on Thursday instead, in order not to interfere with the Shabbat, which begins at sundown on Friday.


Each year on Jerusalem Day, thousands of Israelis participate in a flag march through the streets of the city. They wave blue-and-white flags and sing songs. The parade, also known as the 'Dance of the Flags,' usually attracts tensions between Jews and Arab residents, especially as it passes through contentious flashpoints, such as Damascus Gate in the Old City's Muslim Quarter.

Arabs and some individuals on the political left in Israel consider the march to be a provocation of the religious Zionism. In previous years, there have been clashes between Israel and Hamas surround the flag parade. Hamas has already issued a warning ahead of this year’s march. As always, the event will be held under tight security.


The Palestinians will mark ‘Nakba Day’ on Monday, which occurs every year on May 15. Its translation from Arabic, ‘day of the catastrophe,’ refers to the establishment of the State of Israel. The Palestinians commemorate it as a festival of grievance and protest. They lament the displacement of around 700,000 Palestinians who lived in the territory of British Mandatory Palestine following the War of Independence.

“Commemorating the Nakba must be at the top of our priorities in order to preserve our narrative, which we must adhere to and convey to the whole world,” the Palestinian WAFA news agency quoted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He urged all Palestinians to commemorate the ‘Nakba’ “to confront all lies and false narratives that attempt to distort history and facts.”

The ‘Nakba’ narrative, however, ignores the backdrop against which many Palestinians were expelled or fled away in a tragic manner: On May 15, 1948, a military coalition of Arab states waged war against the newly-found Jewish state and invaded it, along with the Palestinians.

Another fact often overlooked, is that the war included the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from what became the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. During and after Israel’s War of Independence, around 900,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries, even suffering persecution in some.


It is one thing for Palestinians to refer to the establishment of a 'nation of Jews' as a “catastrophe,” but for the United Nations?

Many in Israel are furious that, for the first time ever, the UN has decided to hold events to commemorate “the 75th anniversary of the Nakba.” In addition to a high-level meeting on the controversial Palestinian narrative on Monday morning, a special event will take place in the General Assembly Hall in the evening. 

A spokesperson for UN Sec.-Gen. António Guterres told JNS that “this is an event decided upon by the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which is a member state body. The Secretary-General is not involved in its decision-making.”

Israel, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States were among the 30 countries that voted against the UN resolution to enable the event. Ninety countries voted in favor. In the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy canceled an event planned by Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to mark the “Nakba.”


This week could see an end of an era in Turkey. If polls predictions are correct, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could be ousted after two decades in power. More than 64.1 million Turkish citizens are eligible to vote in the dramatic upcoming election on May 14. Millions of Turkish expats have already started to vote remotely as of last week.

Erdoğan's main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu (74), is leading the race. Known by his nickname “Gandhi of Turkey” thanks to his calm nature, Kilicdaroglu is the leader of a center-left, secular opposition party. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) was created by the founding father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. 

If he wins, Turkey’s entire political system is expected to undergo significant changes. The United States may discover that its NATO ally has taken a new trajectory of handling relations with the West. As for Israel, a new Turkish ruler could also mean more of the same tumultuous relations.  

This week we are also keeping an eye on these developing stories:

  • ... UNCONSCIONABLE: By letting 5.7 million illegals enter US, Biden has opened the floodgates to terrorists, drug-runners, human traffickers

  • ... Why does the Palestinian Authority now fear a Hamas ‘coup’ in the West Bank?

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

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