Hamas Warns of Violence Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

MOHAMMAD AL-KASSIM

05/26/2022

Annual Jerusalem Day event to see Jewish nationalists parade through Damascus Gate, Muslim Quarter

A controversial “Flag March” planned by Jewish right-wing groups and scheduled for Sunday, threatens to spark violence.

Nationalist groups traditionally hold the march in parts of the Old City for Jerusalem Day, the annual commemoration of the unification of the city after Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967.

The traditional route, approved by Israeli authorities for this year’s event, sees marchers enter the Old City through Damascus Gate, heavily used by Palestinians, en route to the Western Wall.

Last year violence erupted when the march got underway; Palestinian factions in Gaza fired a barrage of rockets into Israel triggering an 11-day war.

The short yet deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas saw 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, killed, while one soldier and 14 civilians, including one child, were killed in Israel.

Israeli journalist-turned-political-analyst Eli Nissan told The Media Line the march has gone through Damascus Gate in previous years, and it didn’t create tension until the last couple of years.

“There are ideas to change the route, but I do not believe in the end that the path will change. For years, we have seen the march go through the same path, and there is no threat to Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Nissan says.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has defended his security officials’ decision to let Sunday’s march enter Damascus Gate and pass through the Muslim Quarter.

However, some members of his coalition government have urged him to rethink the route and suggested there might be a last-minute change of heart.

“It is true that the government is weak, but everything related to the march is proceeding forward as it happened in the past and it has no effect on the stability and future of the government,” says Nissan.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned Sunday against letting the march take place, saying that the Palestinian Islamist group would use “all possibilities” to confront it.

A statement on Thursday by Hamas urged Palestinians to converge on Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday to “thwart the occupation plan,” adding, “We reiterate that we are proceeding with full force in defending Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and national rights.”

The Israel Police, which is on high alert, says it has not approved a route that would see the march entering the flashpoint Al-Aqsa compound/Temple Mount, and that this has never happened in the past either.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, warned Israel that it must reconsider allowing the flag-waving nationalists march through Jerusalem’s Old City or face repercussions consequences from Palestinian factions in the Strip. The Islamist movement also urged international governments to pressure Israel to reroute the march.

Gaza-based political analyst Mohammad Hijazi told The Media Line that tension in Jerusalem and the West Bank has existed for a while, but this escalation in rhetoric “will not lead to the launching of rockets from Gaza.

“I think that Hamas is not in the process of escalation. It is trying to threaten and warn against the entry of settlers and extremists to Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, I think these warnings have a political function rather than [being translated into] steps on the ground,” he said.

Hijazi noted that the impoverished coastal enclave is still reeling from last May’s 11-day war, and said the appetite to go through another war, no matter how short, was nonexistent.

“The apartment blocks and houses are destroyed, and the effects of the war are still visible; the process of reconstruction has almost stopped,” he said.

The Israeli military has deployed Iron Dome air defense units around the country as a precaution against rocket attacks from Gaza.

The annual Flag March celebrates Israel’s capture of the Old City in 1967 Middle East war. Israel deems all of Jerusalem its capital − a status not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want to establish their own capital in the city.

The American Embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday urged vigilance, adding an advisory that US government employees and their families “cannot enter the Old City at any time on Sunday.”

This heightened tension comes in light of new efforts by Egypt and Qatar to increase the number of Gazans allowed to enter Israel for work, in addition to some economic improvements.

“All this confirms that Hamas and the factions in Gaza are not interested in going to war. There are no political goals or desired gains motivating Hamas or Israel to engage in a military confrontation,” says Hijazi.

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