Israel's flag march 'wiping out Palestine's identity': Palestinian FM
The Palestinian foreign ministry on Wednesday blasted Israeli authorities' decision to approve a flag march through occupied East Jerusalem.
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.
Last year, as tensions over Israeli settler and state violence Sheikh Jarrah peaked, the Israeli authorities diverted the parade flag march route away from Damascus Gate and Palestinian areas of the city, then postponed it. However, the office of the Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev said this year's march would take place on 29 May along its “customary route” through Damascus Gate.
The Palestinian foreign ministry said Israel's decision to allow the march is "provocative, aggressive, and an integral part of the open occupation war against Jerusalem, its citizens, and its sanctities", in a statement carried by the Palestinian Authority's news agency Wafa.
The ministry said the move is an Israeli incitement to extend conflict between the two sides in an attempt to wipe out Palestinian presence in Jerusalem.
The ministry called the decision "a flagrant challenge to the positions of countries and their condemnation of the policy of the occupation in Jerusalem that results in violations, provocations, crimes, and deliberate sabotage of efforts to stop the escalation and calm the situation."
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.