Thousands of extremists allowed to storm al-Aqsa during so-called “march of flags”

Israelis observe “the day of unity of Jerusalem” to commemorate the occupation of the old city in 1967 and carry out the provocative March of Flags throughout occupied East Jerusalem to mark the occasion

May 30, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Israeli march of flags
(Photo: QudsN)

Thousands of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, May 29. Settlers also attacked Palestinians in different parts of the city during the so-called annual ‘March of the Flags’ which is held to celebrate Israeli occupation of the city. 

The Israeli security forces allowed nearly 70,000 settlers to carry out the march through the old city despite Palestinian objections. The settlers marched with Israeli flags and shouted provocative slogans such as “Death to Arabs.” They also gave the call for destruction of Palestinian villages. 

Palestinians have alleged that settlers were deliberately allowed to enter the al-Aqsa compound by the occupation forces. The settlers stormed the mosque compound through the Damascus gate and raised Israeli flags inside the compound. Some of them were seen praying inside in complete violation of the existing arrangements. The settlers were led inside al-Aqsa by ultra right-wing Member of Knesset (MK) Itamar Ben Gvir. 

Opposing the decision to allow the march inside the old city, hundreds of Palestinians came out in the streets defying the Israeli security forces. They shouted slogans against the occupation and waved Palestinian flags.  

Israeli forces and settlers unleashed violence on Palestinians in different parts of the city in which more than 200 were injured. Israeli forces also arrested over a dozen Palestinians.

Every year, Israeli settlers carry out a march of flags to celebrate the so-called ‘Jerusalem Day’ when Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. On previous occasions, the Israeli state had tried to limit the number of people marching inside the city. However, for the last two years, the Naftali Bennett government has been allowing a larger number of marchers despite fear of violence. 

After the march, Israeli forces and settlers were found attacking several Palestinian localities throughout the old city, including Sheikh Jarrah, al-Shufaat refugee camp and al-Sumoud refugee camp on Sunday. Settlers also destroyed properties belonging to Palestinians.  

Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and other localities in occupied East Jerusalem have been facing settler violence routinely. Ben Gvir has been in the forefront of similar earlier attacks. 

Protests across the occupied territories 

A number of protests were held across the occupied West Bank throughout the day against the Israeli state’s decision to allow the march in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli forces attacked some of these protests in Nablus, Bethlehem and Jenin, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters. Scores of Palestinians were injured in Nablus. The total number of Palestinians injured throughout the West Bank crossed the 100 mark, according to the Palestinian Red Cresent.  

The Palestinian Authority (PA) issued a statement condemning Israel for allowing the settlers to storm al-Aqsa. Calling it a provocative act, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh warned of “dangerous repercussions” and demanded intervention to make Israel comply with international resolutions. 

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which carried out rocket fire attacks against Israel for allowing the march last year, also threatened appropriate response “at the right time.”