Amid high tensions in the Palestinian holy city of Jerusalem, right-wing Israeli activists submitted a request to the Israeli occupation police seeking to hold their annual flag march, which celebrates the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Thousands of Israelis take part in the annual flag march as they pass through West and East Jerusalem, heading to Damascus Gate, where they dance and sing Israeli national songs and chant anti-Palestinian and Arab slogans. Last year, they chanted: “Death to Arabs and Palestinians.”
Israeli police, however, said the request to hold the march was submitted “with short notice” and summoned one of the organisers to discuss an alternative day for it to be held. They went on to reject the request. Haaretz said that the organisers announced they plan to press on with the flag march despite Israel Police’s opposition.
This came a day after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett prevented far-right Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir from heading to Damascus Gate.
“I am not going to let petty politics threaten human lives,” Bennett said. “I will not let the political provocation Ben Gvir is waging threaten IDF forces and police officers, and to make their task even more complicated than it already is.”
“Ben Gvir’s arrival is a detonator, and a detonator must be defused,” a Shin Bet official told the Israeli cabinet during an evaluation meeting. “These provocations could lead to further violence and a ramping up of tensions to the point of setting the whole region in flames.”
Israeli occupation authorities then decided to prevent all Jews from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque until the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
In fact, the Flag March was carried out, but it was forced to change its route after so many restrictive measures had been taken that led to a reduction in the number of participants. Ben-Gvir took part in the march, but he was forcefully prevented by the Israeli police from reaching Damascus Gate, and the official ban for Jews from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque has started.
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All of these this would not have happened without the pressure of the Palestinian resistance which succeeded in deterring the Israeli occupation. Last year, the Israeli occupation authorities could not prevent Israeli settler raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque, prevent or reroute the flag march or bar Ben-Gvir from provoking Palestinians. At that time, the Israeli occupation had just ended its offensive on Gaza, which was claimed as a “victorious operation”.
But one year later, the Israeli occupation could not continue ignoring that it was a failure or a complete defeat for both the Israeli security and political institutions.
Amidst the ongoing tension in Jerusalem, Hamas and other Palestinian factions warned that the ongoing Israeli escalation would trigger a new wave of Palestinian “defensive attacks” against the occupation.
One Hamas official told the media that there was a consensus among those factions that any Israeli violations against the Palestinians in Jerusalem would be met with “a strong Palestinian response.”
“It was emphasised at our meeting that we must continue to be prepared and to raise the national readiness,” the spokesperson said. “Our finger is on the trigger.”
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh has warned the occupation must refrain from its attempt to change the Islamic, Arab and Palestinian identity of the occupied holy city of Jerusalem; otherwise “the Palestinian resistance would force it to stop it.”
Following these warnings, several Israeli officials, including the prime minister, reiterated that Israel would not change the status-quo in the holy city. “Israel is maintaining the status quo, which includes the freedom of prayer for Muslims and the right to visit for non-Muslims. The police enforce the ban on Jewish prayer,” Lior Haiat, a spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said.
Confirming that this came following the deterrence of the Palestinian resistance, Israeli TV Channel 12 said, according to Israeli security officials, that the damage carried out against the Palestinian resistance during the offensive on Gaza in May last year did not paralyse its abilities. The Palestinian resistance, Israeli TV added, refilled its depots quickly and made improvements that would enable the missiles to penetrate the Iron Dome.
Israeli military analyst, Yoav Limor, wrote in Israel Hayom: “Like the three military operations in the Gaza Strip that came before it, Guardian of the Walls ended on a sour note. For a year, the IDF has been trying to market its achievements in the 2021 operation as a major success, but it was doomed to end as a ‘disappointing draw,’ as it would have been called in the sports pages.”
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Following last year’s war, Haniyeh said: “The conditions after the Sword of Jerusalem are not similar to the conditions before it.” Haniyeh was referencing the unity among all Palestinians be they in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Israel or abroad.
According to Limor: “Gaza is tied to the West Bank, which is tied to Jerusalem, which is tied to Arab Israelis, who are tied to what happens in the north. Everything influences everything else.”
For those who believe Israel is a nuclear power so a million nations like the Palestinians would not defeat it, I would say that Russia is a larger nuclear power and it has not been able to defeat Ukraine.
Today, Israeli lies are not a valid cover for the brutality of its occupation because a large part of the world’s population has become aware of the truth.
Despite the war on Palestinian content, the Palestinian narrative is spreading on social media, showing people that they have rights and are victims of a brutal Israeli occupation.
It is telling that on Wednesday, when Israeli Prime Minister Bennett told CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour that she was lying about settler violence in occupied East Jerusalem, she replied: “No, sir, you cannot say that to me. You cannot tell me I’m lying.”
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.