On June 15th, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has deployed Iron Dome air defense batteries and raised its level of alert ahead of the Jerusalem Flag March.
Hamas warned it would respond to the right-wing march if it goes through as planned, potentially with rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Omer Bar-Lev, the newly sworn-in public security minister after a meeting with Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and representatives of several Israeli defense agencies allowed the march to go on as planned.
“I was under the impression that the police is well prepared and that a great effort has been made to safeguard the delicate fabric of life and public safety,” Bar-Lev said in a statement.
Hamas warned Israel that the march will renew unrest, less than a month after the two sides reached a cease-fire following 11 days of fighting in Gaza.
“We are calling on Palestinians in Jerusalem and within the Green Line to halt the march tomorrow,” said Hamas spokesman Abdulatif al-Qanua on Monday. He dubbed the march, in which right-wing groups parade through the Old City carrying Israeli flags, a “fuse for a new explosion for the protection of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem.”
Assailing the march as a “provocation”, Palestinian factions have called for a “Day of Rage” in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
“We warn of the dangerous repercussions that may result from the occupying power’s intention to allow extremist Israeli settlers to carry out the Flag March in occupied Jerusalem tomorrow,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Twitter.
The original march was re-routed to avoid the walled Old City’s Muslim Quarter on May 10th in Jerusalem.
Israeli rightists accused their government of caving into Hamas by changing its route. They rescheduled the procession after an Egyptian-mediated Gaza truce took hold.
A route change or cancellation of the procession could expose Bennett’s patchwork coalition to accusations from Netanyahu, now in the opposition, and his right-wing allies of giving Hamas veto power over events in Jerusalem.
Palestinian protests were planned across the Gaza Strip, and Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction have called on Palestinians to flock to the Old City to counter the march.
“Tensions (are) rising again in Jerusalem at a very fragile & sensitive security & political time, when UN & Egypt are actively engaged in solidifying the ceasefire,” U.N. Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said on Twitter.
“Urge all relevant parties to act responsibly & avoid any provocations that could lead to another round of confrontation,” he said.
The formation of Bennett’s alliance of right-wing, centrist, left-wing and Arab parties, with little in common other than a desire to unseat Netanyahu, capped coalition-building efforts after March 23 elections, Israel’s fourth in two years.
Minutes after meeting Bennett, 49, on his first full day in office, Netanyahu repeated a pledge to topple his government.
“It will happen sooner than you think,” Netanyahu, 71, who spent a record 12 straight years in office, said in public remarks to legislators of his right-wing Likud party.
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