By Awad Rajoub
RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – The Palestinian government has warned of grave consequences over a planned flag march by Israeli settlers through the occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli settlers plan to stage the march on Sunday to mark what they call the day of unifying Jerusalem, in reference to Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry termed the march as “an integral part of Israeli escalation against the holy city, Palestinian residents and holy sites.”
“The provocative colonial policy pursued by the occupation against Jerusalem and its residents risk triggering a religious war whose repercussions can’t be predicted,” the ministry said in a statement.
For his part, Hussein al-Sheikh of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) warned that the flag march will trigger clashes across the Palestinian territories.
“The settlers’ acquisition of the Palestinian lands and the flag march in East Jerusalem, and the continued killing, demolition, arrest, and settlement show us that we have entered a new phase of confrontation with the occupation under an extremist government,” al-Sheikh said on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, warned against allowing settlers to stage their flag march through the occupied city.
"The resistance has the capabilities to respond to any aggression, whether it is against the Gaza Strip or the West Bank,” senior Hamas member Husam Badran told the Doha-based Al Jazeera television.
Last year, settlers staged their march through the Damascus Gate, known as Bab al-Amud area and one of Jerusalem's Old City gates amid anti-Arab chants.
In May 2021, Israeli violations inside the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque and in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem triggered the break-out of an Israeli military offensive on Gaza.
More than 200 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured in the onslaught, which came to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered truce. Thirteen Israelis were also killed in Palestinian fire from Gaza during the course of the conflict.
*Writing by Bassel Barakat