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Minister okays nationalist parade through Jerusalem Muslim Quarter

Israelis wave national flags during a Jerusalem Day march, in Jerusalem, May 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Israelis wave national flags during a Jerusalem Day march, in Jerusalem, May 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A controversial nationalist march decried as a provocation will be allowed to take place on May 29, following its normal route through the heart of the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev announces.

As in years past, the Jerusalem Day Flag March will be allowed to go through Damascus Gate, down Hagay Street and to the Western Wall, Barlev said following a meeting with police brass, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

The parade, annually attended by thousands of right-wing youths and activists, is meant to celebrate the city’s unification in 1967 but is widely viewed as a thumb in the eye of the city’s Palestinians, and tensions often rise around the event.

A Jewish man waving the Israeli flag argues with an Arab woman as thousands celebrate Jerusalem Day by dancing through Damascus Gate on their way to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, May 13, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In 2021, rocket fire from Gaza targeted Jerusalem just as the march was nearing Damascus Gate, kicking off 11 days of intense fighting.

A similar flag march planned for last month amid sky-high tensions surrounding Passover, Ramadan and Easter was blocked from reaching Damascus Gate after organizers and police failed to agree on a route.

Government officials at the time had defended the clampdown by saying that the march should be held on Jerusalem Day.

Police block the road to prevent Jerusalem “flag march” protesters from reaching Damascus Gate, April 20, 2022. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

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