The main event of Thursday’s Jerusalem Liberation Day will be the flags parade, featuring tens of thousands of patriotic youths who will carry the national flags in the streets of the eternal city, including the Muslim quarter of the old city. The parade will be secured by 3,270 Israel Police and Border Guard officers, and in the afternoon, before the start of the parade, the police will close streets to traffic in downtown Jerusalem and near the Old City.
The day’s events will begin with the ascension of hundreds of Jews to the Temple Mount, and police fear that some of them will try to sneak Israeli flags into the compound, which is against the rules that are enforced by the Jordanian agency that runs the Temple Mount. At noon, several Temple loyalist activists will try to march with flags to the mountain, but the police are prepared to block this effort. In recent weeks, Temple-loving groups, most notably Beyadenu, have organized a campaign to encourage 5,000 Jews to ascend to the Temple Mount in the hope of breaking the record of Jewish visitors there (Beyadenu Wants 5,000 Jews on Temple Mount for Jerusalem Day – as Police/IDF Seek to Block Activist).
Commander of the Jerusalem District, Superintendent Doron Turgeman, announced on Wednesday that close to 50 Temple Mount activists have received restraining orders preventing them from going near the Temple Mount.
Israel’s security apparatus conducted several situation assessments over the last 24 hours, Thursday night, the IDF completed a full deployment of its air defense systems in all layers of defense for any scenario that may develop. Israel sent clear messages to Hamas warning the terrorist organization not to try to turn this day into a military confrontation.
Hamas replied repeatedly that for them the Temple Mount is a “red line,” and if Israel tries to violate the status quo on the Mount, Hamas will not stand by. Similar proclamations were heard from terrorist organizations in Judea and Samaria terror factions that claim to be based in Lebanon and spread their warning messages through social networks.
Fatah, the terrorist group affiliated with the PLO and the regime in Ramallah, has warned “the extremist occupation government of the repercussions of the provocative flag march.” Fatah issued a statement on Wednesday saying “the tireless attempts by successive occupation governments to obliterate the Islamic, Arab and Palestinian identity of the city of Jerusalem, through their Judaization schemes, will not work,” adding: “Our people will defeat these attempts with their steadfastness and clinging to their historical rights, and will continue their struggle until the establishment of their independent, sovereign state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”
So far, the security apparatus has not detected concrete plans to fire missiles from the Gaza Strip, but they do recognize two trends: wild incitement by Hamas in Gaza to carry out attacks in Judea and Samaria, and Jerusalem; and the remote activation of Iranian bots to egg on Judea and Samaria Arabs through the social networks.
In addition to banning Jewish activists from the Temple Mount area, the police also arrested several Hamas activists in eastern Jerusalem, according to a Hamas announcement.
Kamal Khatib, deputy chief of the northern Islamic movement in Israel, posted a video repeating the old lies about Israel planning to take over the Temple Mount, or as Arabs have begun to call the compound, “Al Aqsa.”
“Tomorrow, Thursday, a provocative parade of flags is expected to take place that wants to prove the so-called Jewish ownership of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Al-Aqsa Mosque will remain our mosque and they have no right whatsoever in it. I call on you, protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the source of our honor and is the second holiest site in Islam.”
I looked it up: both Sunni and Shia Muslims agree on the three Holiest sites in Islam being, respectively, the Masjid al-Haram (including the Kaaba), in Mecca; the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, in Medina; and the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, in Jerusalem. So, not second, third, Sheikh Khatib.
On Wednesday, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition by an anti-Zionist NGO and eastern Jerusalem residents against the expansion of the flags parade. The petition was filed in response to an announcement by Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Aryeh King, about an additional parade that would take place at the same time as the main parade, arriving from the Jewish neighborhoods on the Mount of Olives. The state told the court this was not an expansion but two separate processions.