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US urges ‘restraint’ as Flag March set to pass through Muslim Quarter of the Old City, police preparing for ‘all possibilities’

The government announced that the Iron Dome air defense systems would be on high alert throughout the day

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

With the annual Jerusalem Day Flag March happening in less than 48 hours, U.S. State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel on Tuesday called for “the parties to refrain from actions and rhetoric and activities that would inflame tensions.” 

Patel said the United States believes in the “right of expression,” but confirmed they were “urging all parties to maintain calm, to exercise restraint.” 

The Israel Police and Border Police have made extensive preparations to secure the march route, preparing “for every security scenario.” 

The government also announced that the Iron Dome air defense systems would be on high alert throughout the day. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently announced that the Flag March would “continue as planned, as usual, on its route.” 

Jerusalem Police District Commander Doron Turgeman said the police were prepared to address several threats, but indicated the threat of rocket fire was not a primary concern. 

“It is the obligation of the police to prepare for every security scenario, including firing rockets,” Turgeman said. “The threats are diverse, and the rocket threat is not central at this stage.” 

On Monday, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, affiliated with the Hezbollah terror group, reported that Palestinian groups informed them that “the resistance is still in a state of alertness and expectation of possible developments at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” 

Palestinian sources told Al-Akhbar that “the issue of the flag parade in Jerusalem was not included in the ceasefire agreement, and the resistance is still watching the direction of the city and is prepared for any scenario.” 

Israel insisted that it did not agree to any ceasefire terms

“The Zionist insistence on holding the flag march in occupied Jerusalem is a provocation against the Palestinian people and all Arabs and Muslims,” according to Hamas official Ali Barakeh.

Barakeh also accused the Israelis of “violating the sanctity of al-Aqsa,” despite the march not entering the Temple Mount complex. 

“The march constitutes a breach of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque,” Barakeh claimed. 

Palestinian groups regularly make accusations of “Jewish settlers storming al-Aqsa Mosque.” 

During his UN speech at the Nakba Day commemoration, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuted any historical link between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

He alleged that Israel “dug everywhere, and they could not find anything.”

A group calling itself The Popular Youth Movement in Jerusalem made a similar claim in remarks about the Flag March. 

“Your sovereignty over Jerusalem is nothing but an illusion. This city will only be an Islamic and Arab city and will never be a Jewish city,” the group stated. 

Palestinian National Council member Tayseer Nasrallah warned that the Flag March could lead to further escalation. 

Hamas spokesperson for Jerusalem, Muhammad Hamada, called on Palestinians to block the parade. 

“You have to be there by the thousands to create a wall to block the flag parade,” he said. 

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

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