Amid tension with Gaza, thousands of Israeli nationalists took part in the “march of flags” in Jerusalem

Israelis sing and dance with flags next to the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun) (RONEN ZVULUN/)

Tens of thousands of Israeli nationalists participated this Thursday in the annual “March of the flags” in Jerusalemto commemorate the occupation of the eastern part of the city, in the midst of a strong police force and in a context of escalating tension with the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians in the east of the city closed their businesses and were barred from entering the Old City of Jerusalem through the Damascus Gate to make way for protesters.

The march began in the western part of Jerusalem and headed towards its eastern zone, entering through the Old City and with its final destination at the Wailing Wall, the holiest place of worship for Judaism.

Thousands of Israeli nationalists demonstrated in front of the Western Wall (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
Thousands of Israeli nationalists demonstrated in front of the Wailing Wall (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg) (Ohad Zwigenberg/)

In the “march of the flags”, the Israelis -with official support, from the Jerusalem City Hall and the Government- commemorate what for them was the “reunification” of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, which for the Palestinians meant the imposition of the Israeli occupation on the eastern part of the city.

In the Gaza Strip, thousands of people gathered at the border with Israel, many of them carried Palestinian flags, and Israeli soldiers fired gas to disperse a group that approached the fence separating the two territories. Similar mobilizations were recorded in places in the occupied West Bank such as the city of Jenin, one of the main sources of tension with Israel, where there were groups that also came out with Palestinian flags.

Palestinians protest against the celebration of the
Palestinians protest against the celebration of the “march of the flags” in Jerusalem in front of the border fence between Israel and Gaza (REUTERS / Mohammed Salem) (MOHAMMED SALEM /)

A Palestinian security source in the Gaza Strip added that Hamas, the terrorist group that rules that territory, launched a “warning rocket” into the sea. Before the Israeli march, the group condemned “the campaign of the Zionist occupation against the Palestinian people in occupied Jerusalem.” Militias in the enclave threatened to fire rockets at Israel again if the mobilized people crossed the “red line”.

Two years ago, and after weeks of violence in Jerusalem that left dozens injured, a war broke out between Hamas and Israel during the “march of the flags.”

The first Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He said Thursday that the celebration in Jerusalem occurs “3,000 years after it was founded by King David, 75 years after it was refounded as the capital of the reborn state of Israel, and 56 years after it was reunited.”

“Jerusalem is ours forever”Itamar Ben Gvir, an Israeli far-right minister present at the march, told the press.

Security personnel protect Israel's Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
Security personnel protect Israel’s Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir (REUTERS/Ammar Awad) (AMMAR AWAD/)

The annexation of East Jerusalem and the Old City was never recognized by the international community.

Thursday’s march comes a few days after the start of a ceasefire that ended deadly clashes between Islamic Jihad and Israel in the Gaza Strip.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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