(Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
On 26 May, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas warned Israel against instigating “another war” if they continue to allow far-right nationalists to participate in the so-called Flag March in occupied East Jerusalem.
Bassem Naim, a top official in Hamas’s department of politics and foreign relations, appealed to the international community to place pressure on Tel Aviv to reroute the controversial rally, currently slated to pass through the Muslim quarter of the city.
“I expect that Hamas and the other [military] factions are ready to do all they can to prevent this event, regardless of how much it costs us … The decision is in the hands of the Israelis and the international community. They can avoid a war and escalation if they stop this mad [march],” Naim said.
The Flag March is set to take place on 29 May, marking Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, alongside celebrating Israeli sovereignty following the end of the Six Day War.
The march was initially scheduled to be held on 10 May, though Israeli authorities refused to authorize the event due to pressure from Palestinian resistance groups.
However, Israeli nationalists reached an agreement with public security minister Omer Bar-Lev, allowing the march to proceed.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also warned Israel of “dire consequences” should a dangerous escalation take place on the holy Islamic and Christian sanctuaries in occupied East Jerusalem.
Nasrallah issued the warning during a speech on 25 May honoring the 22nd anniversary of the liberation of Lebanon from Israeli occupation.
“Our biggest fear is that the marchers will enter the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and harm it … I want to tell the Israeli government and everyone involved – any harm to al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock will lead to a major explosion in the region. This is a provocation against all Arab and Muslim peoples,” Nasrallah said.
The Hezbollah leader was clear in saying that, if such provocations cross any red lines, a regional war will definitely ignite.
On 17 May, the leader of Jewish supremacist group Lahava issued a call to action to “demolish” Al-Aqsa Mosque for those participating in the upcoming flag march, which is the third holiest site for Muslims across the world.
Their alleged goal is to replace Al-Aqsa Mosque with a third Jewish temple.
The last time the provocative Flag March took place, in May 2021, an 11-day war broke out between Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip and occupation forces. The violence resulted in the deaths of over 260 Palestinians and the destruction of large sections of the besieged strip.