Palestinians protest against controversial Jewish march in East Jerusalem

A controversial right-wing Israeli march is scheduled to take place in occupied East Jerusalem despite Palestinian condemnations.

Israeli security forces disperse Palestinians near the Damascus gate in east Jerusalem, on June 15, 2021, ahead of the March of the Flags which marks the anniversary of Israel’s 1967 occupation of the city’s eastern sector.
Israeli security forces disperse Palestinians near the Damascus gate in east Jerusalem, on June 15, 2021, ahead of the March of the Flags which marks the anniversary of Israel’s 1967 occupation of the city’s eastern sector. (AFP)

Hundreds of Palestinians have protested against a planned parade by Jewish ultranationalists through occupied east Jerusalem.

Israeli forces confronted several Palestinians on Tuesday, scuffling with them or detaining them ahead of the march.

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Some of the protesting Palestinians set fire to tyres while others were seen carrying slingshots. Israeli forces also resorted to firing tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

A member of Israeli security forces grabbed Palestinian man during scuffles in the Old City of Jerusalem, ahead of the March of the Flags on  on June 15, 2021
A member of Israeli security forces grabbed Palestinian man during scuffles in the Old City of Jerusalem, ahead of the March of the Flags on on June 15, 2021 (AFP)

Palestinian activists earlier launched incendiary balloons and kites from besieged Gaza towards areas adjacent to the border in southern Israel.

“The fire was in response to the provocative flag march in East Jerusalem on Tuesday,” a Palestinian activist who identified himself as Abu Houzayfa told Anadolu Agency.

The incendiary balloons or kites contain flammable materials or oil-soaked rags that may ignite fires once landing on crops or dried plants.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Palestinian was injured by Israeli gunfire near the Gaza border fence.

Controversial flag march

The so-called March of the Flags celebrates the anniversary of Jerusalem’s “re-unification” after Israel captured the city’s east in the 1967 Six Day War. It is not recognised by most of the international community.

The government said organisers had consulted police on the best route for the march, scheduled to begin at 1430 GMT.

Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned it as a provocation on Twitter.

When the march was originally announced for last week, senior Hamas official Khalil Hayya warned it could spark a return to violence like that of May 10-21.

An original march on May 10 was re-routed at the last minute as Israeli violence in occupied Jerusalem and storming of Al Aqsa Mosque led Hamas to fire rockets towards the holy city.

Protests also flared in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families face possible expulsion after an Israeli court accepted Jewish settler land claims.

Israel bombarded besieged Gaza, killing over 250 residents for11 days before a fragile ceasefire was reached.

A Palestinian medic stands next to tear gas fired by Israeli forces during a protest over a flag-waving procession by far-right Israeli groups in and around East Jerusalem's Old City, in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on June 15, 2021
A Palestinian medic stands next to tear gas fired by Israeli forces during a protest over a flag-waving procession by far-right Israeli groups in and around East Jerusalem’s Old City, in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on June 15, 2021 (Reuters)

Israel annexed East Jerusalem, in a move that has not won international recognition, after capturing and annexing the area in the 1967 Middle East war. It considers all of Jerusalem its capital.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they seek to establish in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza.

The fighting came to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered truce on May 21.

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