Jerusalem march through Muslim Quarter to go ahead

The outgoing Israeli government has given the go-ahead for a march by religious nationalists which was cancelled by organisers over fears it could trigger a new round of conflict.

The flag march through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem was originally due to take place on Thursday, but police rejected the original route.

The march will now happen next Tuesday.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza, had threatened further escalation if the march took place.

At least 242 people were killed in Gaza and 13 people were killed in Israel during 11 days of fierce fighting last month.

The cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the decision after a meeting on Tuesday.

The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, is due to vote on a new government on Sunday. Mr Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, faces the end of his term in office if the new coalition is approved.

It would then fall to the incoming government, led by ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett and centrist Yair Lapid, to make the final decision on whether the flag march should take place two days later.

The Jerusalem Day event normally takes place on 10 May and marks Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem – home to the Old City and its holy sites – in the 1967 Middle East War. Hundreds of flag-waving Israeli youths usually make their way through the Muslim Quarter via Damascus Gate, chanting and singing patriotic songs. 

It is regarded by many Palestinians as a deliberate provocation. This year’s march would also have taken place in the final days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, as well as during the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza. (BBC)

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