Israeli security establishment gears up for Jerusalem Day amid Hamas threats

Hamas calls for mass gathering on Temple Mount during Jerusalem Day, prompting fears the terrorist group could attack Israel during anniversary of city’s reunification.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

The Israeli security establishment is preparing for Jerusalem Day celebrations on Thursday amid Palestinian threats to disrupt an annual flag parade.

The flag march is an annual highlight of Jerusalem Day festivities, which celebrate the anniversary of the Israeli capital’s reunification during the Six-Day War of 1967.  Every year, thousands of youths carrying Israeli flags march from downtown Jerusalem to the Old City.

Palestinians regularly accuse Israel of using the march to “Judaize” the city.

The parade passes through Damascus Gate and proceeds through the Old City to the Western Wall. Marchers do not go up to the adjacent Temple Mount.

Israel reportedly warned Hamas that it would retaliate powerfully to any rocket fire during Jerusalem Day.

More than 2,000 police officers have been assigned to secure the march while another 1,000 will be deployed at other celebrations in the capital.

Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said that police have contingency plans for all kinds of scenarios, including terrorist rocket fire.

On Tuesday, Hamas called on Arabs in eastern Jerusalem to gather at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in large numbers for morning prayers.

Read  Hamas: Arab-on-Arab murders are Israel's fault

The parade comes less than one week after Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad agreed on a ceasefire to end five days of conflict. During that time, Palestinian terror groups fired some 1,500 rockets at Israel. The parade and the Palestinian response to it will test the ceasefire.

Israeli political officials emphasize that Israel did not commit at any point to altering the route of the flag parade as part of its ceasefire. Palestinian sources told the Tazpit Press Service in recent days that Hamas does not want to bring Gaza into another conflict with Israel, but would instead consider responses within eastern Jerusalem.

Gaza terrorist groups reportedly have vowed to oppose any violation of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire reached in May 2021 following that month’s war.

Before Jerusalem Day in 2021, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to change the route so that marchers would not pass through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, but Hamas fired rockets, sparking an 11-day military operation in Gaza. During that time, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired 4,400 rockets, killing 13 people inside Israel.

That war was initiated by Hamas firing two rockets at Jerusalem as that year’s flag march was about to begin.

Read  Terror in Jerusalem: One wounded in stabbing attack, terrorist disguised as Ultra-Orthodox