As Israeli nationalists gathered in East Jerusalem for a controversial demonstration, tensions were high in the occupied Palestinian territories on Tuesday.
The so-called flag-raising parade is to celebrate the anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the eastern part of the city in 1967.
“The right to demonstrate is the right of all democracies,” said Israeli Minister of Internal Security Omer Bar-Lev. “The police are ready, and we will do our best to maintain the subtle context of coexistence.”
After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem was not recognized by most of the international community, and it was believed that the final status of the city should be resolved through negotiation between the two parties.
The Palestinians claim that the eastern part of the city is the capital of their future country.
The following are the latest updates:
Israeli army blocked the street leading to Damascus Gate
The Israeli army closed the road leading to the Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem, and others forced the Palestinians to leave on the steps leading to the old city.
A video shared on social media showed that the Israeli police forces set up metal roadblocks, blocking all paths leading to the gate.
The occupying forces closed the street leading to Bab al-Amud and prevented the Jerusalemites from reaching there in preparation for the marching settlers flag pic.twitter.com/PjGxlRrkkD
-AlQastal Al Qastal (@AlQastalps) June 15, 2021
Translation: The Israeli army closed the street leading to the Damascus Gate to prevent the arrival of Jerusalemites in preparation for the “flag march” of the settlers.
Violent clashes broke out between Israelis and Palestinians
Israeli special forces attacked young Palestinian men who were attacked while fleeing occupied East Jerusalem.
Nearby, an elderly Palestinian man on crutches and an elderly woman were also beaten by the police.
A video shared on social media showed that several Israeli police officers assaulted a Palestinian man near Damascus Gate while dragging him down the stairs.
Nablus Gate, 5 policemen! ! why? pic.twitter.com/vfxkuXtgLa
-Real News of Illinois (@RealNewsIL) June 15, 2021
Translation: Damascus Gate. Five policemen! why?
Fatima Khader, 62, from the Old City condemned the Israeli settlers for confiscating her home and imprisoning her children.
“My house was occupied by Israelis. I was attacked by Israelis,” she told Al Jazeera. “There is no international law to protect us-what law is this? I am old and they took my children and put them in jail.”
Palestinians launch burning balloons to Israel in March
Palestinian militants launched burning balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip to southern Israel.
“These kites are in response to the provocative flag march in East Jerusalem on Tuesday,” a Palestinian activist who identified himself as Abu Huzafa told the Anadolu News Agency.
Burning balloons or kites contain flammable materials or oil-soaked rags, and once they fall on crops, they may cause a fire.
Israeli police block the Damascus gate
Palestinian media reported that Israeli police forces prevented Palestinians from reaching the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Videos posted on social media showed that Israeli police installed metal roadblocks because Palestinians were prevented from passing through these roadblocks.
Occupation prevented people from reaching Bab al-Amud during this period pic.twitter.com/eeA1HE0nR4
-AlQastal Al Qastal (@AlQastalps) June 15, 2021
Translation: The Israeli army prevented the Palestinians from reaching Damascus Gate.
Israeli lawmakers say “obvious provocation”
Laura Wharton, a member of the Jerusalem City Council, told the Associated Press that she thought the planned demonstration was “completely absurd.”
Wharton said: “This is obviously an obvious provocation by extreme rightists who are dissatisfied with the government, dissatisfied with many things, and want to vent their dissatisfaction to the residents of the old city.”
The demonstrations constituted an early test for Israel’s fragile new government, which was sworn in on Sunday, including parties from various political sectors.
The cancellation of the march will expose Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other right-wing members of the coalition to strong criticism from those who see it as a surrender of the Hamas ruler in Gaza.
The iron dome defense system is ready in southern Israel
The Iron Dome missile defense system batteries can be seen in southern Israel as the army deployed them amid increasing tensions with the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
The new Israeli government’s decision to approve Israeli nationalists’ controversial demonstrations in the Palestinian areas around the Old City of Jerusalem increases the possibility of a renewed confrontation only a few weeks after the 11-day Israeli attack on Gaza.
“The Palestinians are very angry”
Hussein Nasser Eddin, 35, from Shuafat in occupied East Jerusalem, said that if more people gather at Damascus Gate to confront the Israeli marchers, major problems may arise.
But he said there are many police officers present, so they will prevent people from arriving. The logistics officials of the local media suggested that most of the problems will occur in the old city.
“The Palestinians are very angry. People are afraid of losing their homes Forced eviction And demolished,” Edin told Al Jazeera.
Khalid Alian, 26, from Jabal al-Mukaber, also condemned Israeli settlers for forcing Palestinians to leave their homes.
“This is our land, and the settlers are taking away our land, taking away our future and our dreams. Eight of my friends were killed by Israeli soldiers. If you have documents proving land ownership, if you are driven out to settle. How would you feel if someone gave way?” he asked.
Israel sends thousands of police officers before March
The Israeli police stated that 2,000 troops will be deployed to provide protection for participants in a “flag march” planning to cross occupied East Jerusalem.
According to the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, police forces will be deployed near the route that participants will take during the parade.
According to the broadcaster, the Israeli police have also decided to strengthen their presence in mixed cities in Israel in response to violent incidents.
Hamas warned that “all options are on the table”
When the march was first announced last week, senior Hamas official Khalil Haya warned that it could lead to a renewed outbreak of violence that caused more than 256 deaths and 11 deaths in Gaza and Israel last month.
Hamas spokesman Mohamed Hamad said that mediators have been in contact with Palestinian armed groups in recent days, calling on them to “not carry out military escalations on the basis of demonstrations.”
“However, all options are on the table,” Hamad said.
Last month’s conflict began with Hamas’s deadline for Israel to withdraw its forces from the East Jerusalem flashpoint area, and then launched a series of rockets at Israel when the ultimatum was ignored.
Israeli settlers began to gather for a nationalist march
Israeli settlers began arriving at noon under the escort of plainclothes police.
Heavily armed paramilitary border police and other troops patrolled the streets of the city, set up checkpoints, and blocked roads throughout East Jerusalem.
An iron fence was placed outside the entrance of Damascus Gate, where the Palestinians stated that they would gather there to fight the Israelis.
A young Palestinian man stood on the street corner watching, and the Palestinian shopkeeper began to close the door. After midday prayers, anti-march protests against the march are expected.
Since the morning, hundreds of Palestinians have gathered in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to prevent settlers from trying to enter. The bus comes from Israel.
Activists say that if Israeli settlers stay away from the compound, the conflict will be less intense. When the police stood nearby, groups of young boys chanted slogans and refused to leave.