Haaretz reported that the US State Department condemned the “outrageous and unacceptable” violence and racist behavior at the Jerusalem Day flag march on Thursday.
“We urge all sides to exercise restraint and refrain from provocative actions or rhetoric that escalates tensions. It certainly includes racist statements and actions as well as violence.” “We unequivocally condemn any form of racist language. Hateful chants like ‘Death to Arabs’ are outrageous and unacceptable.”
Thousands took part in the flag march, a controversial act in which Israeli extremists parade with Israeli flags through the Old City, including the Muslim Quarter.
Clashes broke out between extremist Jewish youth and Palestinian residents before the march reached Jerusalem’s Old City. In one incident, verbal insults turned into shoving and physical attacks against Palestinians. One resident was pinned to the ground and briefly killed; Police intervened and dispersed the Palestinians involved.
The marchers also attacked journalists, injuring three. Police chased the assailants from the area, and later arrested two suspects, one of whom was a minor, who was in possession of a knife.
In addition, photographers and reporters condemned the various attacks on journalists by the police.
Some raised casteist and nationalist slogans during the parade. Hundreds of people were filmed chanting “Death to the Arabs” and “A Jew is a soul, an Arab is a son of a bitch” near Damascus Gate. Prior to this, groups of Jewish youths were filmed dancing and singing “May Their Town Burn”.
Despite high tensions and the recent ceasefire with Islamic Jihad and Gaza, the march ended without significant incident. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh suggested that Israel’s vigilance “demonstrates the fear of the settlers,” adding that the extensive security measures taken by Israel “only highlight the perceived weakness of the Zionist entity.”
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Israel Katz made a speech at the parade in which he threatened Hamas Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar that any attempt to interrupt or disrupt the march would result in his assassination by Israel, “the fate of his allies in the Islamic Like Jihad.”
Hundreds of Palestinians protest at the Gaza border. Israeli security forces fired tear gas as protesters approached the fence.
Jerusalem Day is celebrated on the Hebrew anniversary of Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem.
In 2021, Jerusalem Day coincides with the last days of Ramadan. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, over 300 Palestinians were injured in clashes that morning at the Temple Mount compound, and Israeli authorities banned Jewish visits to the holy site. It all culminated in the March of Flags, during which Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem, triggering an operation in Gaza and violence in mixed Jewish-Arab cities across the country.