Washington called on both the Israelis and the Palestinians to avoid “provocations” against the backdrop of the escalating tension in the occupied city of Jerusalem over the organization of the so-called flag march of Zionist extremists, which was postponed to next Tuesday.
Hundreds of settlers, including affiliated with the so-called Trustees of the Temple Mount, organized a march that roamed the Old City of occupied Jerusalem and the vicinity of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque amid tight security from the occupation forces.
The occupation police in Jerusalem forced Palestinian merchants in the Old City to close their shops to secure the passage of the march.
Before noon today, dozens of settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque, guarded by the occupation police, who closed down a Palestinian institution and launched a campaign of arrests in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
The Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem said, in a brief statement, that 78 settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque this morning, guarded by the Israeli police.
Palestinian local media pages circulated photos and videos of 36 Israeli settlers storming the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, under the protection of the occupation police.
For years, the settlers have taken the first day of the beginning of the Hebrew month as the date for holding this march, which includes Talmudic prayers at each door of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Yesterday, a mini-Israeli security council decided to postpone the extremists’ march until Tuesday, at a time when there were differences and conflict between former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the security services over allowing the march to be organized.
As the debate escalated, the United States urged both Israelis and Palestinians to avoid “provocations” and to maintain the ceasefire agreement.
Asked about the march, State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “We believe it is necessary to avoid taking steps that exacerbate tensions.”
The march is known as the “Flags March” to celebrate Israel’s declaration of Jerusalem as its unified capital following its occupation and annexation in 1967. Thousands participate in it and reach occupied Jerusalem, passing along and within the walls of the old city, the main market and the Islamic neighborhood within it.