Israel: Police restrict banned far-right Jerusalem march | News | DW | 20.04.2022

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Israel: Police restrict banned far-right Jerusalem march

Israeli police blocked a flag-waving march that is considered a provocation to Palestinians. A similar event last year came on the eve of a deadly war between Israel and Hamas.

Israeli right wing activists with Israeli flags gather for a march in Jerusalem

A group of Israeli ultra-nationalists said it is determined to go ahead with a flag-waving march around predominantly Palestinian areas of Jerusalem's Old City

An Israeli ultranationalist group said on Wednesday that it was planning on going ahead with a flag-waving march through predominantly Palestinian parts of Jerusalem despite a police ban.

Later in the day, it appeared that police had blocked the protest by setting up large barricades around the walls to the Old City. 

The march — a repeat of an earlier event that was one of the triggers for the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2021 — had been set to pass by Old City and then go down to Damascus Gate, the epicenter of last year's unrest.

"At this stage the police are not approving the protest march under the requested layout," Israeli police had said ahead of the march.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he barred  Member of the Knesset Itamar Ben Gvir — an ultranationalist — from attending the rally. "I don't intend to allow petty politics to endanger human lives," Bennett said.

Jerusalem's flashpoint site

The proposed march, and its ban, come as tensions rise in Jerusalem.

Several people have been injured in recent days during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

Palestinians clash with Israeli police in Jerusalem

The scenes took place at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam. The area, which is under Palestinian authority but Israeli security, is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

Militant Palestinian organizations from Gaza warned that they had "their finger on the trigger" in regard to possible outbreaks of violence during the ultranationalist march, which they consider a provocation.

Tensions on the rise

A similar march in 2021 also came during heightened tensions when Israeli authorities were trying to kick out a Palestinian family from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

In response, Hamas began to fire rockets into Israel, which responded with a series of bombardments within the densely packed Gaza strip. The war killed over 250 Palestinians while 14 people in Israel were also killed.

Similar to last year, tensions began to rise during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

On Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they had launched a strike on the Gaza Strip in response to an attempted attack the previous day.

The Israeli ultranationalist group framed the march as a protest against a spate of terrorist attacks in Israel that killed more than 10 people.

Israel-Hamas ceasefire - DW's Tania Krämer reports from Jerusalem

ab/fb (AP, dpa)