In Jerusalem, thousands of Israeli ultranationalists have walked flagged through the occupied East Jerusalem. Some chanted slogans like “death to the Arabs.” The “flag march” is seen by Palestinian groups as a provocation. They called for a “day of anger”.
Israeli media reported that the military has strengthened air defense, but as far as we know, no missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip on Israel. However, from Gaza there have been combustible balloons that have come down in Israel. In the south of the country, some fields have been set on fire.
Prior to the march, the atmosphere was tense. The City Council of Jerusalem had deployed some 2000 agents as a precaution. “There were hundreds of Palestinian youngsters at the Damascus Gate near the Old Town. All of them were expelled. It also came to confrontations with the police,” says CCEIT correspondent Ties Brock.
He was there, look here how it went:
At least seventeen Palestinians have been arrested. According to the Palestinian relief organization Red Crescent, 33 Palestinians were injured in the confrontations.
The march was originally planned on May 10, on which Israel celebrated that was conquered East Jerusalem in 1967. Because of tensions, the march was degraded prematurely. Hamas nevertheless shot missiles on Jerusalem that day, following eleven days of Gaza bombing by the Israeli army and further missile shelling by Hamas.
One of the tensions is the planned expulsion of four Palestinian families in an Arab quarter in Jerusalem. The Israeli Supreme Court will soon be discussing whether the Palestinian families can appeal that expulsion.
Test New Government
The march presents a challenge for the new Israeli Prime Minister, right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett. Despite the concern that the march could lead to new turmoil, prohibiting was not an option for the new government. That would be seen within right-wing nationalist circles as a knee fall for Hamas.
The Israeli parliament agreed to the new government coalition last Sunday, one without former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus Likud party. The coalition consists of parties covering much of the political spectrum, including a small Arab party.