Israel approves ultranationalist Jewish march in Jerusalem

Israel approves ultranationalist Jewish march in Jerusalem
Israeli authorities have approved an ultranationalist rally later this month to mark Israel's capture and subsequent annexation of East Jerusalem. The march will likely include hundreds of right-wing Israelis singing anti-Palestinian songs.
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Israeli nationalists mark 29 May every year to commemorate Israeli forces' annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 [Getty]

Israeli authorities on Wednesday said they have given the go-ahead for flag-waving Jewish nationalists to march through the heart of the main 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 the Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev said the 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, chanting anti-Arab slogans, as they pass by Palestinian onlookers and businesses.

Barlev’s office said the decision was made after consultations with the police.

The march is meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israel subsequently annexed the area in a step that has been condemned by the international community. 

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Tensions also have been heightened by a police crackdown during the funeral of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last Friday, who was killed by Israeli soldiers while covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank last week. As the funeral procession got underway, Israeli police pushed and beat mourners, causing the pallbearers to lose control of the coffin and nearly drop it.

One of her pallbearers, Amr Abu Khdeir, 34, has been in solitary confinement since being arrested early Monday, according to his lawyer. Attorney Khaldoun Najm said Abu Khdeir’s detention has been extended until Sunday. Israeli authorities say he is a member of a militant organization and that they have a file on him, Najm said.

Israeli police said in a statement that Abu Khdeir was arrested “as part of an ongoing investigation which, contrary to allegations, had nothing to do with his participation in the funeral procession.” The statement confirmed that a court has extended his detention. The police refused further comment.