Despite Sunday’s Jerusalem Day flag march and the accompanying violent incidents that took place in Jerusalem, the Palestinians succeeded in proving that they are the sovereign party in the city, Palestinian Authority Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Gheith said on Sunday evening.
Gheith, who was speaking to the Al Jazeera TV network, said the Palestinian people “have proven today that sovereignty in Jerusalem is Palestinian sovereignty despite all the practices of the occupation and the racist settlers.”
He accused Israel of trying to drag the region into a religious war and “Judaize” Jerusalem.
“We are facing a right-wing extremist government, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement in our occupied capital,” Gheith added.
Palestinian sources said that at least 60 people were injured and 38 arrested during clashes with Israeli security forces and Israelis celebrating Jerusalem Day by marching through Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter.
“We are facing a right-wing extremist government, ethnic cleansing, and forced displacement in our occupied capital."PA Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Gheith
Palestinians in east Jerusalem and many parts of the West Bank protested against the flag march by raising Palestinian flags in several areas.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the march and attacks on Arab residents of Jerusalem and warned of the “dangerous repercussions.”
Shtayyeh praised the Palestinians who arrived at the Aqsa Mosque compound early in the morning to “defend” the site against alleged assaults by extremist settlers.
“Jerusalem has been and will remain through the years and forever the capital of the State of Palestine,” he said. “Attempts to change its features and impose illusory sovereignty on it will not succeed.”
Shtayyeh claimed that Israel has failed since 1967 “to impose its sovereignty over the city, adding that the flag march will not change Jerusalem’s Arab, Islamic and Christian identity.
Additional Palestinian Authority statments
The PA premier called on the international community and all international human rights and humanitarian organizations to urgently intervene to stop “violations” of the holy places in the city.
PA Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Fadi al-Hidmi described Sunday’s events in Jerusalem as a “blatant and horrific violation of the legal and historic status of the Aqsa Mosque compound and all international laws.”
According to Hidmi, what happened in Jerusalem during the Jerusalem Day celebrations “refuted the ‘unified Jerusalem’ lie.”
He added, “What happened in al-Aqsa Mosque today is unprecedented in its ugliness, in terms of the intensity of the number of intruders, as well as the violations by performing Talmudic rituals and raising large Israeli flags.”
He too warned that Israel’s practices and measures in the city would lead to a religious war.
Hamas also summed up the day by reiterating that Jerusalem will remain a Palestinian and Arab city despite the flag march.
“Our people will continue to defend their rights until the Zionist settlers are expelled, and they will protect the identity of this holy city in an open and continuous battle with the Zionist occupation,” said Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem.
Another Hamas spokesman, Abdel Latif Qanou, said on Sunday evening that sovereignty in Jerusalem “will remain exclusive for the Palestinian people.”
Qanou said that Hamas will continue to “protect al-Aqsa and defend our people.”