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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Israeli Police Stop Far-Right March Through Jerusalem

Israeli police on June 7 blocked a planned march by Jewish nationalist groups through Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem’s Old City, citing current levels of tension in Israel.

Police argued that the format and the timing of the flag-waving procession set for June 10 through the Damascus Gate were not suitable amid fears it would lead to another intense fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.

A similar march last May 10 played a key role in increasing the tensions between Israel and Palestine, prompting the 11 days of the worst violence seen in years in the region, killing over 200 Palestinians and at least 12 Israelis.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz last June 5 had urged the police to not let the controversial march to go ahead over concerns that it would re-ignite tensions, following a meeting with top security officials.

Palestinian militant group Hamas also had warned that the march could spark fresh hostilities.

Following the announcement, Hamas welcomed the decision, saying that Israel recognized “the danger of crossing… red lines” and the “consequences it may bring on the ground.”

Police said in a statement that a permit for a different time or route might be considered if submitted.

It has not been made immediately clear if the police consulted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in making the decision.

The cancellation also came as an Israeli opposition coalition pushes forward with its attempt to oust Netanyahu.

Religious Zionism alliance leader Bezalel Smotrich called on Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Amir Ohana to not “succumb to Hamas threats.”

Ohana suggested on Twitter that the decision could still be reversed.

“I hear about the complexities and difficulties, and still believe that the decision should be raised to the political level due to its importance.

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