Jerusalem Day celebrations.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Bolstered police forces continued to asses the situation in the capital throughout the day Sunday as tensions rose in light of Israel's annual Jerusalem Day holiday.
This year's 49th-annual Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the reunification of the city and Israel's establishment of control in Jerusalem's Old City after the Six Day War in 1967, falls ahead of the expected first day of Islam's holy month of Ramadan.
On Sunday morning, more that 750 people, including some 556 tourists, visited the Temple Mount ahead of large-scale afternoon events.
Authorities remove three Jewish visitors who violated the prohibition to pray at the holy site and another Jewish visitor was detained for assaulting a police officer.
In addition, police detained two Muslim women who chanted slogans while visiting the complex.
As part of security preparations for the day that often sees disturbances erupt between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem, police and Border Police were operating on heightened alert, particularly in the Old City and at the Western Wall.
Controversy has surrounded the traditional "Flag Parade," in which Jewish revelers march throughout the Old City in a celebration of Israel's reunification of the capital after the Six Day War in 1967.
While plans remained in tact for the "Flag Parade" - one of the centrally contested events of the day - the High Court of Justice ruled that all legs of the march will start 15 minutes earlier than expected, and that by 7:30 p.m. all Jews would need to evacuate the Muslim Quarter.
The court ruled that the march will now start at 5:15 p.m., allowing access through Damascus Gate at the entrance to the Muslim Quarter until 6:15 p.m., after which all marchers will be directed to Jaffa Gate at the entrance to the Jewish Quarter.
The court's ruling came after deliberation over a last-minute effort by the left-wing NGO "Ir Amim" to prevent the march from passing through the Muslim Quarter in the capital's Old City.
Earlier Sunday ahead of the march, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the contested "Flag Parade" would not arouse problems.
"Violence isn't needed to dictate reality, I think the frictions in this city always have existed and always will exist," he told Army Radio.
Barkat told the radio station that the march has been done on the same route for years, and that "at face value, I don't think that there will be problems."
"Jerusalem is celebrating, this is an appropriate march," he added. "We're talking about tens of thousands of people who take part in this day of celebration for the city."