Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson / Flash 90
Thousands of Jews walk around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem on Tisha B'Av (Archive: August 13, 2016)

The Palestinian Authority has issued a bitter condemnation of the upcoming annual Tisha B’Av Walk set for July 21, calling it a “provocative” march.

The annual event, a march around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, affirms Israel’s sovereignty over its eternal capital and aims to unify the city under the auspices and participation of Israeli officials on the day when world Jewry marks the destruction of both holy Temples within the Old City.

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“This march is an extension of the state of extremism that dominates the political arena in Israel and the settlers, since U.S. President Donald] Trump’s ominous declaration on Jerusalem and the transfer of the embassy and the continuous Judaization of the Holy City and its separation from its Palestinian surroundings,” the Palestinian Authority “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” said in a statement.

It said that “this prevents the creation of a viable Palestinian state with … East Jerusalem as its capital.”

The Palestinian Authority called on the international community to act quickly to “implement its relevant UN resolutions and to take legal measures to force Israel to comply with international law, and the will of international peace, saying the failure to hold Israel accountable for its aggressive and provocative practices encourages it to continue to commit further violations and crimes and to continue its violent isolation of occupied Jerusalem and its holy sites.”

The Women in Green organization, which has organized the Walk for the past 24 years, issued its own statement in response, noting the event was a restoration of the ancient Jewish custom of walking around the walls of Jerusalem on the eve of the fast day.

“The Palestinian Authority is correct in a few of the points that they raise in their call,” noted Women in Green co-founder Nadia Matar.

“Indeed, the walk on the eve of Tisha b’Av is intended to reinforce our sovereignty in the eternal city, the capital of Israel, Jerusalem. We take this opportunity to thank the president of the United States, Donald Trump, for his support in this matter.

“We are proud that this walk constitutes another layer in the process of preventing the establishment of a terror state in the heart of the Land, as they themselves claim. The steps taken for sovereignty in Jerusalem are part of an overall process in which we are striving to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

“The People of Israel is here because this is our Land and the capital of this Land is Jerusalem, toward which we have prayed for thousands of years. Only under our Israeli sovereignty can all of the nations and religions pray in it and travel in it freely and safely.

“We also take this opportunity to tell the international community that we are here because of a divine commandment and a history of more than 3,000 years, as well as by right of international institutions which declared the right of the Jewish People to this Land, from the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Resolution, the resolution of the League of Nations and so on.

“It is important to clarify to the Palestinian leadership that the world has changed and no longer buys the Arab-Palestinian lie; the world has opened its eyes and can now distinguish between good and evil and there is increasing understanding that the aggressor no longer is the one who wins sympathy,” she added.

The Walk begins this coming Saturday night at 10:15 pm after the mass reading of the Scroll of Lamentations in Gan Ha’Atzma’ut (Independence Park) in the heart of Jerusalem. The walk will encircle the walls of the Old City, stop at the Lion’s Gate for speeches, and then will conclude at the Western Wall.

For information on the upcoming march, click here.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.