Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash90
Jerusalem Day March - June 1, 2011

“Any harm against Al-Aqsa mosque will lead to dire consequences, warning that the resistance is stronger than any time before,” Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah threatened Wednesday, joining Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in threatening to attack Israel if it enables the traditional flag parade to take place on Jerusalem Day, celebrated this year on Sunday, including through the Old City.

The Jerusalem Day celebrations, marking the victory during the 1967 Six-Day War and the reunification of Israel’s capital, include a parade in which tens of thousands of Israelis march with flags through the city’s center and then through the Old City while entering it through the Damascus Gate.


In a speech via Al-Manar TV on Wednesday, Nasrallah warned that “within days, things might happen in the region and might lead to an explosion. Any harm against Al-Aqsa mosque will lead to dire consequences as such issue provokes Islamic sentiments.”

“The Palestinian resistance [terror groups] is unanimous in responding, and things may lead to a major explosion inside Palestine. Any attack on al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock will explode the region as it provokes every free and honorable person,” he further warned.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terror groups in the Gaza Strip issued similar threats against Israel in recent days.

Al-Mayadin reported Wednesday that Hamas has announced that its attack “will come from all arenas, including the Gaza arena,” and presumably, from the north. Similarly, a commander of Hamas’ Izz ad Din al-Qassam forces in Gaza, Izz ad Din Haddad, said that “the Israeli enemy would be surprised by the accuracy and intensity of the firing.”

The parade and its path were approved by all the relevant security bodies in Israel. The march does not include, and has never included, the Temple Mount.

Mounting tensions last year, which culminated in Jerusalem’s Day parade, led to Hamas firing rockets at Jerusalem and subsequently the IDF launching Operation Guardian of the Walls while Muslims rioted for days in cities across the country.

Israel’s security establishment is on high alert ahead of the parade. Jerusalem’s police have canceled all leave and will deploy 3,000 policemen to secure the march. The IDF has deployed Iron Dome defense systems ahead of pending rocket attacks and has reportedly called up reserves.

The US Embassy in Jerusalem issued on Wednesday a security alert in which it said that due to “ongoing tensions and potential security issues in the Old City of Jerusalem,” US government employees and their families cannot enter the Old City after dark, cannot use Damascus, Herod’s, and Lions’ Gate, and cannot enter the Old City at any time on Sunday. Damascus Gate will continue to remain off-limits after May 29 until further notice.

In cities with Arab and Jewish populations, the police will deploy boosted forces to prevent Muslim riots such as those that occurred last year.


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.