The Jerusalem Day flag march passing through the capital's Old City

Israeli defense officials oppose last-minute reroute of Jerusalem flag march

Military, security agencies warn any change at the wire would be perceived as a sign of weakness on Israel's part; Bennett adamant about maintaining traditional route and asserting Israeli sovereignty

Yossi Yehoshua |
Published: 05.26.22, 11:55
The defense establishment on Thursday advised Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to stick to the approved route of next week's Jerusalem Day flag parade despite protests of extremist elements, warning that any last-minute change would be perceived as a sign of weakness on Israel's part.
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  • During discussions on the matter, one senior defense official said that in case Hamas follows through on its threats of violence if the march goes ahead in its current format, the Israeli response must be overwhelming.
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    צעדת הדגלים
    צעדת הדגלים
    The Jerusalem Day flag march passing through the capital's Old City
    (Photo: EPA)
    Prime Minister Bennett was also adamant about maintaining the traditional route and asserting Israeli sovereignty.
    Military officials claimed that Hamas is deterred by Israeli forces and is not interested in widespread escalation, but rather further stoke tensions without getting Gaza involved.
    While the military believes public discourse in Gaza mainly revolves around economic issues, Mohammed Deif, the supreme commander of Hamas's military wing will ultimately call the shots, rather than Hamas's political leader in Gaza Yahyah Sinwar.
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    תמונה של מוחמד דף
    תמונה של מוחמד דף
    Mohammed Deif
    Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Wednesday against letting the nationalistic Jerusalem Day flag March pass through the capital's Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter, saying it could spark "a major explosion."
    "I want to tell the Israeli government and everyone involved – any harm to al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock will lead to a major explosion in the region. This is a provocation against all Arab and Muslim peoples," Nasrallah said during a speech.
    Meanwhile, the United States Embassy in Jerusalem instructed its employees and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem's Old City starting Thursday up until Monday. American citizens in Israel have also been advised to remain vigilant.
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    מצעד הדגלים בירושלים יוצא לדרך
    מצעד הדגלים בירושלים יוצא לדרך
    Israeli security forces spread across Jerusalem ahead of the flag march
    (Photo: EPA)
    On Wednesday, Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai ordered high alert in Jerusalem and other cities with mixed Jewish-Arab populations ahead of the nationalist rally.
    As per the order, more than 3,000 police officers will be deployed in Jerusalem and hundreds more in mixed cities as police fear violence might ignite in a repeat of last year's Jerusalem Day when high tensions eventually culminated in violent racially motivated riots across the country and the Gaza conflict.
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