Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Arab Joint List Knesset members Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh seen outside Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem's Old City during the Flag Dance March, June 15, 2021.

Israeli Arab Knesset members gathered at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, ahead of the arrival of some 5,000 marchers in the annual Flag Dance Parade.

The leader of the Arab Joint List faction, Ayman Odeh, told an Arab news outlet while he and MK Ahmad Tibi were standing outside the Damascus Gate, “On these (Old City) walls, the flag of Palestine will be hoisted and Jerusalem will be the capital of recaptured Palestine.”

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The head of the Islamist Ra’am party, Mansour Abbas, told reporters earlier in the day, in a statement issued ahead of Tuesday’s Jerusalem Flag Dance Parade, “The march is an unbridled provocation whose purpose is shouting hate and incitement to violence and an attempt to inflame the region for political purposes.

“The public security minister and the police should have cancelled it.

“I call on all sides not to be dragged into escalation.

“There is no doubt that the goal of the march organizers was to challenge the new government and exhaust it with a series of explosive incidents in the coming period and set us back with unnecessary escalations which will endanger lives, similar to what we experienced last month,” Abbas said.

“Ra’am calls for political efforts to be made in order to reach a political settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, one that would fulfill the vision we strive for: achieving peace, mutual security, partnership and tolerance between the two peoples.

“This is the only vision that can put an end to a bloody conflict,” Abbas added.

Meretz MK Yair Golan called the marchers “a handful of disturbed people” who he said “will try to set the region on fire, and called on the IDF Southern Command chief and the commander of the IDF Judea and Samaria Division “not to approve of this madness.”

Likud MK Nir Barkat responded to the rejections, saying in a tweet that the flag march is “a tradition that has existed for years and symbolizes our sovereignty in Jerusalem. I supported it as mayor of Jerusalem and even today — We will not give in to threats and we will continue to celebrate in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”

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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.