Right-wing Israeli pro-settler groups scrapped a controversial march that was to take place this week in Jerusalem, a spokesperson said, as Hamas warned of renewed violence if the event took place.
The so-called March of the flags was due to take place on Thursday and proceed through flashpoint spots in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem.
News of its cancellation came as Khalil Hayya, a senior Hamas figure of the Palestinian group Hamas, warned the march could spark new violence. It was not clear if the cancellation was linked to his remarks.
#UPDATE Israeli right-wing groups on Monday cancelled plans for a controversial march through annexed east Jerusalem this week, citing police restrictions, as Islamist group Hamas warned the event would spark new violence https://t.co/JkdFUry7Do
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 7, 2021
“Police refused to give us authorization,” a spokesperson for one of the groups organizing the march said, prompting a cancellation of the event.
Israeli police said in a statement that “the current route at this time is not approved”, without adding that the march had been scrapped.
“We warn the occupation (Israel) against letting the march approach east Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Thursday,” Hayya said.
— Good Shepherd Collective (@Shepherds4Good) June 7, 2021
“We hope the message is clear so that Thursday doesn’t become (a new) May 10,” he said, in about the start of last month’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip.
Right-wing organizers described the march as a routine demonstration of free expression, but many critics feared it could set a match to already inflamed tensions, that have come as a result of Israel’s forced expulsion of Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
Israeli police cancel annual 'Flag March', marking Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
This is 2nd time since May that organizers' request to march through Damascus Gate was rejected.
Decision came after Gantz urged cancellation of event on eve of gov't swearing in.
— Arwa Ibrahim (@arwaib) June 7, 2021
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz had urged police to cancel it over concerns it could reignite fighting.
Thursday’s march was set to pass through the Damascus Gate, where May clashes between anti-settlement demonstrators and Israeli security forces were a factor in fuelling the war.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)