fears of violence for the “flag march” in Jerusalem

fears of violence for the “flag march” in Jerusalem

Last year, the Israeli march sparked Hamas strikes, a prelude to an 11-day war between the two sides.

The Israeli police are on high alert Sunday in Jerusalem on the occasion of the “march of the flags“, parade marking the conquest of the Palestinian part of the city by Israel, against a backdrop of fears of a new conflagration.

Last year, on the day scheduled for this march according to the Hebrew calendar and after days of Israeli-Palestinian violence in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian movement Hamas launched salvoes of rockets into Israel, a prelude to an 11-day war. between the two camps. For this Sunday, the police placed themselves on alert and indicated that they had mobilized 3,000 officers for the march of “Yom Yerushalaim” where the “jerusalem daywhich should start at 4:00 p.m. local time (1:00 p.m. GMT).

The parade marks Israel’sreunificationof the Holy City after the occupation in 1967 of its Palestinian part. Its historic route passes through the Old City located in occupied East Jerusalem, without making a detour via the esplanade of the Mosques, at the heart of Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Palestinian groups have threatened toanswer” in the event of violence during the march, or even if participants went to the esplanade of the Mosques, the third holiest site in Islam but also the holiest site in Judaism under the name of “Temple Mount“. “We will not hesitate to use all possible means to stop a (possible) incursion on our sacred sites. Israel will pay a heavy price“Ghazi Hamad, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, the ruling Islamist movement in Gaza, told AFP on Saturday, which says it is fighting a “judaizationof this site.

Test for Naftali Bennett?

Despite pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett assured that the march “will proceed according to the planned route, as it has for decades», that is to say, passing through the Old Town but without making a detour via the esplanade.

Walking is apersonal test, even a personality testfor Naftali Bennett, to mark his difference from his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, in power last year during the march and the war, notes the major daily Yediot Aharonot.

“Netanyahu stammered, hesitated, made a decision (to allow the march), to then retract (on the route) because of the threats of Hamas and we had despite everything a barrage of rockets (…) Bennett opted for an opposite strategy, with a calm and calculated policy (.. .)“, continues the Yediot. What is this calculation? “Whae Hamas has no interest in embarking on a new war (…) because it is focused on the reconstruction of Gaza”believes Shlomo Mofaz, security analyst and former high-ranking Israeli military intelligence.

In recent months, Israel has granted thousands of work permits on its territory to Palestinians from Gaza, whose salaries are used to breathe new life into this enclave undermined by endemic unemployment. “Undermining security stability would threaten its efforts and (economic) progresssaid Israeli commander Ghassan Alian in allusion to Hamas on Saturday evening.

Avoid escalation»!

If Hamas has no economic interest in an escalation, violence in Jerusalem with Palestinian injuries or deaths could push it, or other Palestinian armed groups such as Islamic Jihad, to go on the offensive, notes Shlomo Mofaz .

Another element at stake: Iran, Israel’s number one enemy and supporter of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. According to the New York Times, Israel has told Washington that it is responsible for the death of Sayyad Khodai, a senior officer in the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who was shot on May 22 near Tehran. . “Maybe they (the Iranians) will encourage (Hamas or Islamic Jihad) to break the routine” and launch rockets into Israel, notes Shlomo Mofaz.

The UN’s chief mediator for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, called on Israelis and Palestinians “to show maximum restraint” in order to “avoid a new conflict which will only lead to more deaths”. “The message from the international community is clear: avoid further escalation.”