Hamas warned of the repercussions of the Israeli government’s approval of settlers to organize a flags march at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and vowed to confront it by all means, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
On Sunday, May 22, the head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said in a speech during a conference held by his movement in Gaza on the occasion of the first anniversary of the recent war on the Strip: “There are settlement calls to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque and organize the march of flags. I warn the enemy against committing such crimes.”
He stressed that “the resistance is at the forefront, in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. It does not, and will not, and will not allow, these Jewish superstitions to be passed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We will confront it with all our capabilities and will never allow the erosion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
On May 18, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev announced that the march, scheduled for May 29, would be held the same way as in previous years.
Usually, Jewish activists and settlers organize the Flags March in Jerusalem on May 29 to commemorate the Unification of Jerusalem day, which commemorates Israel’s annexation of the eastern part of the city during the June 1967 war.
In May 2021, a rally was held at a time when there was a sharp escalation in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem.
However, Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem during the march. Sirens were heard throughout the city, prompting participants to run for places to hide.
The rocket fire sparked an 11-day war, last year, between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza, and Hamas vowed not to allow Israel to repeat the annual march.
This year’s rally again comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. Since March 22, a wave of deadly attacks has rocked Israeli cities, killing 19 Israelis – in the worst period of violence outside the war in years.