Israeli authorities yesterday cancelled a planned flag March outside Jerusalem’s Old City organised by right-wing Israeli extremists.
The march, due to be held today, was announced days after Al-Aqsa Mosque was stormed by Israeli occupation forces who attacked Palestinian worshippers. At least 152 Palestinians were wounded on Friday when Israeli troops entered the mosque and fired at Palestinians inside.
A statement issued by Israeli officers said the request to hold the flag March today was submitted on Monday “with short notice” and that an organiser was called to discuss an alternative date, the Times of Israel reported.
Adding that they were committed to upholding “freedom of expression and protest by law, while maintaining the wellbeing and security of the march’s participants and the entire public.”
“We won’t allow the flag march to take place as the organisers proposed. A flag march at this time would require deploying another 1,000 police to Jerusalem. We’re already stretched to the breaking point, with our main goal to protect the security of the public and the safety of every place,” senior Israeli officers said.
The head of Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu, who helped organise the march, denounced authorities’ decision.
“All those who wanted to come to the capital [during Passover] suffered a moral blow,” Matan Peleg told Army Radio. “We want to show there’s nothing to fear.”
Many have vowed that they will go ahead with the March in spite of the police’s orders that it not take place. Far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir said he would take part in the event despite Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warning him not to.
“I am not going to let petty politics threaten human lives, I will not let the political provocation Ben Gvir is waging threaten IDF forces and police officers, and to make their task even more complicated than it already is,” said Bennett.
During last year’s annual flag march, Israeli far-right supremacists shared selfies posing with guns and messages such as “Tonight we are not Jews, we are Nazis.” A report by Amnesty International on the conduct of Israeli police during May and June’s crackdown on Palestinians found that it had failed to protect Palestinians from Jewish supremacists who had organised attacks and publicised their plans in advance.