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MORE violence is anticipated in Jerusalem tomorrow as Israel has given the go-ahead to a far-right parade asserting Israeli claims to the whole city, including occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday commemorating its conquest of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
A nationalist parade in which marchers brandish Israeli flags as they troop through the Old City’s Damascus Gate and Palestinian neighbourhoods usually takes place, but senior Israeli officials warned that this year’s ought to be rerouted in light of the mood in the city following a weekend of savage police violence against Palestinians.
On Friday more than 200 Palestinians were injured in clashes at al-Aqsa mosque and elsewhere. On Saturday night, as Muslims marked Laylat al-Qadr, the “night of destiny” and the holiest point of the Ramadan holy month, Palestinian protesters were again attacked by Israeli police.
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the kingdom “called on the Israeli authorities to stop their violations and respect the sanctity of the mosque, the freedom of worshippers and the historical and legal status quo.”
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he “will not allow any extremists to destabilise the calm in Jerusalem. We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly.”
Israel suspended border crossings from the Gaza Strip because of the security situation, saying hundreds of merchants had been denied entry.
Retired Israeli defence official Amos Gilad said the parade should be cancelled or rerouted away from the Old City. “The powder keg is burning and can explode at any time,” he warned.
Tensions are especially high as Israel’s Supreme Court is due to rule tomorrow on the fate of scores of Palestinians facing eviction from their homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrar neighbourhood, with Israeli settlers fighting a legal battle to steal their land. Palestinians and international human-rights groups say the process is part of a long-running ethnic-cleansing programme aiming to drive Arabs out of Jerusalem.
But Israeli police spokesman Eli Levi said there were no plans to call off the parade, though he said police would continue to monitor the situation.
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