The Palestinian Authority (PA) warned, Wednesday, that a planned flag march by Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem will fuel tension in the region, Anadolu News Agency reports.
Settlers plan to stage the flag march through Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday to mark what they call the unification of Jerusalem, in reference to Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967.
In a statement, PA spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, termed the flag march as “provocative”, holding the Israeli government “fully responsible for this escalation that will lead to an explosion in the situation”.
“Our Palestinian people and their leadership are capable of protecting Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites and that Jerusalem will remain with its holy places the eternal capital of the State of Palestine,” Abu Rudeineh said.
The controversial march triggered violent clashes with Palestinians in recent years, including an 11-day fighting between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza in May 2021.
Israeli settlers groups said they plan to mobilise nearly 5,000 settlers to break into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex on the day of the flag march.
According to Israeli Channel 13, four Israeli ministers are scheduled to join the flag march, including far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third-holiest site. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community.