“Death to the Arabs”: Israeli nationalists marched in Jerusalem

Thousands of Israelis, the majority of them ultranationalists, took part this Wednesday in an annual march held in a sensitive Palestinian area of ​​Jerusalem, with some fueling already existing wartime tensions with cries of “death to the Arabs” .

Jerusalem, the emotional heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been, in the description of the American agency Associated Press (AP), quite calm during the war between the forces of Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which has existed for almost eight months.

However, the holding of this annual march, seen as a provocation by Palestinians, suggests wider unrest, as happened three years ago when it contributed to triggering an 11-day crisis in the Gaza Strip.

According to AP reports, protesters gathered in front of the Damascus Gate, a central meeting point for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, chanted anti-Arab and anti-Islamic slogans, danced and agitated. Israeli flags when the march began.

Shortly before the start of the demonstration, several groups clashed with the police and threw plastic bottles at a journalist who was wearing a vest with the word “Press” clearly visible. The agents arrested several Palestinian men and took them away with their hands tied behind their backs.

The annual march marks “Jerusalem Day”, which marks Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims, during the 1967 war. in the Middle East.

Israel considers the entire city its capital, but the annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized internationally. Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and this march as a provocation, especially in the context of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The police said they mobilized 3,000 officers to ensure order and, at the insistence of Israel’s Minister of National Security, the ultranationalist Itamar Ben-Gvir, the march followed its traditional route, entering the Muslim Quarter of the City Old through the Damascus Gate and ending at the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews to pray.

The AP reported that, while buses carrying young Jews for the march gathered near the centuries-old walls of the Old City, Palestinian merchants closed the doors of the Muslim Quarter as a precaution. Police stressed that the demonstration would not enter the sprawling Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, the third holiest site in Islam.

Counterprotests were planned throughout the day. An Israeli group, Tag Meir, sent volunteers before the start of the march to distribute flowers to Christian and Muslim residents of the Old City.

These events take place at a time when Israel and Hamas are negotiating a truce in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages held by the Palestinian group, at the same time that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains is carrying out a military offensive in Rafah, in the south of the enclave, and is facing opposition from the far-right wing of its executive.

The war in the Gaza Strip was triggered by a Hamas attack on Israeli soil, on October 7, 2023, which caused around 1,200 deaths and left more than two hundred hostages held by the Palestinian group, according to Tel Aviv.

The Israeli offensive that followed in the Gaza Strip caused more than 36,000 deaths and a serious humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave, according to local authorities supervised by Hamas.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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