Thousands of flag-waving Jewish nationalists gather in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City to hold "flag march" as dozens of Palestinians were injured in assaults by Israeli police and settlers.
Thousands of Israeli settlers have gathered in Bab al Amud area (Damascus Gate) near occupied East Jerusalem's Old City to participate in a controversial flag march through the city amid high tensions.
Settlers organised the march on Sunday to mark what they call the day of unifying Jerusalem, in reference to Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967. Palestinians see the event as a provocation.
The crowds, who were overwhelmingly young Orthodox Jewish men, paraded through the heart of the Muslim Quarter in a show of force that risked setting off a new wave of violence in the tense city.
Israel said it deployed thousands of police and security forces for the event, and scuffles between settlers and Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem were reported sporadically.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said at least 62 Palestinians were injured in assaults by Israeli police and settlers in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
It said Israeli police used batons and fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters against Palestinians in the city.
Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of Israeli settlers forced their way into the Al Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
A group of Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian woman with pepper spray in Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/B4DbPOS79b— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) May 29, 2022
Thousands of people normally take part in the march through the Muslim Quarter, before making their way to the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter on the other side of the Old City.
Despite the recent unrest, Israeli leaders decided to allow this year's parade to take place along its traditional route through the Muslim Quarter.
Settlers chanted pro-Israeli slogans and chants against Palestinians and Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, witnesses said.
One large group chanted “Death to Arabs,” and “ Let your village burn down” before descending into the Old City.
Clashes during last year’s flag march led to an 11-day Israeli offensive on Gaza during which more than 260 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured.
Thirteen Israelis were also killed from Palestinian fire from Gaza during the course of the conflict. The violence, the worst in years, came to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered truce.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al Aqsa Mosque is located, during the Six-Day War in 1967. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.