Palestinian terrorist groups warn against upcoming Jerusalem Flag March

The right-wing march last week received police permission to pass through the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in Jerusalem, as Jewish groups conducted a flag march through the Old City (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in Jerusalem, as Jewish groups conducted a flag march through the Old City
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

A year after the outbreak of Operation Guardian of the Walls, Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Jihad Nahalka warned against the upcoming Flag March set to take place in Jerusalem’s Old City next week.

Speaking during a conference organized by the terrorist group on the first anniversary of the 11-day conflict dubbed “the Sword of Jerusalem” and “Operation Guardian of the Walls” by the IDF, Haniyeh said, “We will confront [Israel] with all of our capabilities,” adding that the Palestinian people “would not accept the passage of such Talmudic Jewish nonsense.”

“Our decision is clear and unhesitating,” he said. “We will resist with all our capabilities and we will not allow the violation of Al-Aqsa Mosque or thuggery in the streets of Jerusalem.”

Insisting that the Gaza-based extremist group follows through with it’s warnings, Haniyeh said, “We don’t just talk. Our actions speak louder than our words, and our struggle against the ‘Zionist occupier’ has entered a new phase.”

The right-wing march received police permission last week to pass through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. That was despite warnings that the event might lead to increased tensions a year after the same event led to a barrage of Hamas rockets fired on the capital, setting off Operation Guardian of the Walls.

 Protesters wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, April 22, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90) Protesters wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, April 22, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

More than 4,000 rockets and mortars were fired toward Israel in that conflict, killing 12 Israeli civilians and one soldier. Israeli strikes against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad killed at least 243 Palestinians.

Ahead of the fighting, Israeli security forces had increased their alert level and sent more than two-and-a-half extra battalions for reinforcements. The IDF also placed Iron Dome batteries in central Israel ahead of the May events that intercepted the missiles.

Jihad Nahalka, the leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad based in Damascus, warned in a video address to the crowd at the conference that Israel’s action in and around Jerusalem “is deliberately insulting Muslims” and is “deliberately” insulting and trampling on the rights of Palestinians.

“A year has passed and Jerusalem is still being threatened and Judaized, and our battle for it is still going on,” he was quoted as saying by Palestinian Maan News Agency. “Jerusalem is our eternal capital, and Al-Aqsa Mosque is the destination of our jihad, and all attempts to Judaize it will not be accepted, even if we have to fight every day.”

He added, “Do the Jews, and those behind them from the oppressive world think that by killing us in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, they can make us give up on it? These criminal killers will only find in our people brave fighters who go to fight until martyrdom.”

Gaza’s Joint Chamber of Resistance Factions also warned against the march, saying it “motivates us to stand by with all firmness and determination,” and that last year’s war saw “a state of unprecedented national cohesion, which for the first time made the enemy unable to stop the fire of confrontation that ignited everywhere.”

“The heroic acts during Saif al-Quds from the first moment of the battle, and it’s spread from Gaza to Jerusalem, Jenin, Nablus, Haifa, Ramle, Beersheba, Lod and Nazareth, also reached the Palestinians of the diaspora marched by hundreds of thousands in support of Al-Aqsa,” the group said.

On Wednesday, Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev said the Flag March route would go through Damascus Gate and the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, as marchers head to the Western Wall.

According to a statement released at the time, Bar Lev said he accepted the recommendation by the Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and that the route would be as planned “as it has been customary for most years in the past.”

The controversial march comes at a time of high tensions following a spate of deadly terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 19 Israelis.

The attacks have led the IDF and Israeli security forces to crack down on Palestinian terrorism, especially in the northern West Bank. The daily operations and increase of troop presence along the Seam Line where Palestinians routinely illegally cross into Israel has led to the deaths of around 30 Palestinians, including armed gunmen and innocent bystanders including journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. One elite YAMAM counter-terrorism officer, Noam Raz, was also killed.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested.

Last year’s Flag March also took place when the atmosphere was tense. Violent riots between Palestinians and Israeli security forces were breaking out almost daily on the Temple Mount and in the West Bank at the time, and Israel was threatening to evict families from Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem.