Palestinians, Jordan slam ‘provocative’ Jerusalem flag march

Palestinian leaders accused Israel of working to alter the demographic composition, historic, and legal status of Jerusalem.

 Israelis and Palestinains argue near Damascus gate to Jerusalem's Old city as Israel mark Jerusalem Day in Jerusalem May 18, 2023 (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Israelis and Palestinains argue near Damascus gate to Jerusalem's Old city as Israel mark Jerusalem Day in Jerusalem May 18, 2023
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Hamas and other Palestinian factions yesterday strongly condemned Israel’s Jerusalem Day celebrations, including the flag march, dubbing them a “desperate attempt” to show that the city is under Israeli sovereignty.

Earlier, several Palestinian factions and activists called on Palestinians to converge on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem to “foil” the march.

Palestinian sources said police officers detained Ahed Risheq and Raed Hijazi, senior members of the ruling Fatah faction in east Jerusalem.

In a series of statements, PA officials in Ramallah warned that Israel would be held responsible for the repercussions of its decision to allow the flag march to pass through the Old City.

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shttayeh said that the flag march, which he denounced as “absurd and provocative,” is an attempt by Israel to “impose false facts in Jerusalem.” The Palestinians will continue to “make great sacrifices on behalf of the Arabs and Muslims to defend the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem,” Shtayyeh said.

 Palestinians and Israeli Border Police clash in Jerusalem's Old City on Jerusalem Day, May 18, 2023 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Palestinians and Israeli Border Police clash in Jerusalem's Old City on Jerusalem Day, May 18, 2023 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Rawhi Fattouh, chairman of the Palestinian National Council, the PLO’s legislative body, said the Israeli government “would bear full responsibility for the repercussions of the provocative” celebrations. The flag march, he added, “is one of the tools of the racist war launched by the fascist right-wing government with the aim of expelling the Palestinians from Jerusalem.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strongly worded statement saying Israel “and its settler militias have no sovereignty over Jerusalem or its holy sites.” It accused Israel of working to alter the demographic composition, historic, and legal status of Jerusalem.

“The so-called Flag March exposes Israel’s non-existent sovereignty over Jerusalem by harassing and arresting, en masse, the Palestinian people, attacking their homes and shops, and paralyzing the city in order to guard the settlers,” the ministry charged. “The Flag March is a demonstration of unaccounted intimidation and violence targeting Palestinian presence and existence.”

The Islamic Supreme Fatwa Council in east Jerusalem said the flag march aims to “provoke the Palestinians and appease the extremist settlers, with the aim of consecrating a fake sovereignty over Jerusalem and all the Palestinian areas.” Council head Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Hussein also condemned Jewish tours of the Temple Mount, calling them “an open defiance of Muslims in various parts of the world.”

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials described the Jerusalem Day celebrations as a “failed attempt by Israel to carry out its scheme of judaizing Jerusalem.”

Jordanian Foreign Ministry condemns 'storming' of al-Aqsa

In Amman, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the “storming” of the al-Aqsa Mosque by members of the Israeli government and “extremist settlers.” It warned of an “exacerbation of the situation in light of allowing the provocative and escalatory march in occupied Jerusalem.”

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also condemned the flag march as provocative and warned that Israeli actions in Jerusalem would lead to more tensions and violence.