Monday, July 22, 2024
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Israeli nationalists march through Palestinian area

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Some chant ‘Death to Arabs’ during Jerusalem Day march

Jerusalem, June 5: Thousands of mostly ultranationalist Israelis took part in an annual march through a dense Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday, with some stoking wartime tensions and chanting “Death to Arabs.” Jerusalem, the epicentre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been mostly calm throughout the Israel-Hamas war, but the march could ignite widespread tensions, as it did three years ago, when it helped set off an 11-day war in Gaza.
Marchers gathered outside the Damascus Gate, a central gathering place for Palestinians in east Jerusalem, chanted anti-Arab and anti-Islamic slogans, danced and waved Israeli flags as the procession kicked off.
Just before the march began, crowds scuffled with police and threw plastic bottles at a journalist wearing a vest with the word PRESS emblazoned on it. Some chanted “Muhammad is dead!” referring to the Islamic prophet.
The march was taking place as tensions over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza are high. The war began with Hamas’ October 7 attack into southern Israel, in which militants killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages.
Israel responded with a massive offensive that has killed over 36,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, displaced most of the territory’s population and caused widespread destruction.
The United States has thrown its weight behind a phased cease-fire and hostage release outlined by President Joe Biden last week. But Israel says it won’t end the war without destroying Hamas, while the militant group is demanding a lasting cease-fire and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces.
The annual march commemorates “Jerusalem Day,” which marks Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital, but its annexation of east Jerusalem is not internationally recognised. The Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, see the march as a provocation. (AP)

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