Israel’s brand new government may already be tested less than two days after being sworn into office. Hamas and other Palestinian groups are calling for a ‘Day of Rage’ on Tuesday if the planned ‘Flag March’ takes place through Jerusalem’s Old City.
In a statement on Sunday, Hamas encouraged Palestinians to “mobilize” at al-Aqsa on the Temple Mount and in the Old City of Jerusalem.
“Let next Tuesday be a day of mobilization and a bond towards al-Aqsa Mosque, and a day of anger and defiance of the occupier,” The Jerusalem Post reported. “Show God and your people what you have done in it and be the best sword for Jerusalem and al-Aqsa.”
Mainly religious Jews, many from Judea and Samaria, usually participate in the Flag Parade held each year on Jerusalem Day. It traces the path Israeli paratroopers entered and captured the Old City and Temple Mount during the 1967 Six-Day-War.
This year on May 10, the route had been changed not to go through the heart of the Muslim Quarter due to high tensions and violence already in the area of Damascus Gate and Temple Mount. But the parade was interrupted by Hamas rocket fire toward Jerusalem, in the opening volley of the 11-day war between Hamas and Israel.
Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have threatened to resume the conflict against Israel if the parade is allowed to go ahead. Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah also said earlier that “reckless” Israeli acts in Jerusalem would lead to a “regional war.”
Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, a staunch ally of now opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, said he expected newly elected Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who himself had participated in flag dances in the past to “stand firm despite the fact that he folded from all his ideology.” He said he hoped that the flag parade “still remains legitimate in his eyes.”
It’s not yet clear if Bennett and the security establishment will allow the parade to proceed. But in his speech shortly before being sworn in, Bennett said the new government would not tolerate Palestinian violence.
“Last month, we received a reminder that the conflict with the Palestinians is still here. We must remember, and remind the world, that our enemies deny our very existence in the Land of Israel, and that this is not a dispute over territory,” said Bennett.
“We need military strength, civil resilience, and a belief in the justness of our path at times when the conflict raises its head. I hope the ceasefire in the south is maintained. But if Hamas again chooses the path of violence against Israeli civilians, it will encounter a wall of iron,” Bennett added.
Meanwhile, Hamas’ newly appointed prime minister also took office on Sunday. Isaam al-Da’alis replaces Dr. Mohammed Awad, who resigned after two years in office.
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