Israeli Police Stop Nationalist Flag March in Jerusalem
Israeli police on Wednesday blocked hundreds of Jewish protesters from marching toward Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Old City’s Muslim quarter, amid rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
Several hundred right-wing protesters carrying Israeli flags began marching from a square near Jerusalem’s municipality, according to a Reuters witness, in defiance of police orders and despite condemnation by several Israeli leaders.
The organizers said the march was an attempt to “bring back the feeling of safety to the streets of Jerusalem.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he ordered police to ban far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir from visiting Damascus Gate, following recommendations from security officials.
“I will not allow Ben-Gvir’s political provocations to endanger the lives of Israeli soldiers and police,” Bennett said in a statement.
The protesters scuffled with police to try and reach Damascus Gate, but rerouted to another Old City gate after the forces stopped them, a Reuters witness said.
Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules Gaza, warned against the marchers’ approaching the holy site and said “the occupation’s leadership” will bear full responsibility for the consequences of “such dangerous and provocative measures.”