Israeli authorities on Wednesday said they have given the go-ahead for flag-waving Jewish nationalists to march through the Palestinian thoroughfare in Jerusalem's Old City later this month, in a decision that threatens to re-ignite violence in the holy city.
The office of Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev said the Jerusalem flag march would take place on May 29 along its "customary route" through Damascus Gate.
Each year, thousands of Israeli nationalists participate in the march, waving Israeli flags, singing songs and in some cases, some chanting anti-Arab slogans, as they pass by Palestinian onlookers.
Barlev's office said the decision was made after consultations with police.
While right-wing groups welcomed the decision, saying it boosts the status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, some on the left lambasted the move.
"The decision to approve the route, through the Muslim Quarter and the Damascus Gate, is a dangerous mistake," Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Frej from the Meretz party said.
The Old City, located in east Jerusalem, has experienced weeks of violent confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators, and the march threatens triggering new unrest.
Last year's 11-day Gaza war erupted as the march was just getting underway, even after authorities changed the route to avoid Damascus Gate, with a barrage of rockets fired by terror groups in the Strip at the Israeli capital.
The march is meant to celebrate Israel's capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel subsequently annexed the area in a step that is not internationally recognized. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.