Israel threatens violence if ‘Flag March’ disrupted
In an interview with Channel 14 on Monday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would assassinate anybody who poses a threat to the upcoming flag march in occupied Jerusalem this week.
“We carried out assassinations not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in other places,” the prime minister told the Hebrew outlet, adding that “whoever provokes us on Jerusalem Day – his blood will be spilled.”
“We carried out assassinations in several arenas. All I can say is that we will not back down from this policy, but we will implement it at the appropriate time,” he added.
Netanyahu’s comments come despite the fact that Israel was said to have agreed to the resistance’s main term for the ceasefire announced on Saturday evening, an end to the Israeli ‘assassination policy’ against leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement and other groups.
However, contradicting the alleged Egyptian, Qatari, and UN-drafted truce document – Israeli officials continue to claim that they made no such agreement.
“We will have zero tolerance for those who launch attacks against [us] … we will take direct and very painful measures directly against the heads of all organizations,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier on Monday, a member of Netanyahu’s government, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, said: “The march of the flags will take place, as usual, every year without change, and that any organization that tries to harm it and fire missiles at us to prevent it, all its leaders will be on the elimination table, as we did with Islamic Jihad.”
This came after Palestinian sources told Al-Akhbar daily that – while a change in the course of the flag march was not included in the ceasefire terms as the PIJ had initially announced – the resistance would be keeping a watchful eye over Jerusalem and would respond appropriately to any provocation by “the occupation government and its extremists” during the flag march.
A journalist with close ties to Hamas, Mustafa al-Sawwaf, told Al-Akhbar that “things will turn upside down” if Israel goes ahead with Thursday’s ultra-nationalist march as planned.
Every year, the flag march falls on ‘Jerusalem Day,’ during which Israelis commemorate the illegal annexation of east Jerusalem during the 1967 war. The march is highly provocative given that it passes through the Muslim quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City where Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is located – with Israelis carrying their flags and chanting racist and derogatory slogans.
Acts of violence against Palestinians by settlers and accompanying Israeli troops are highly common throughout the annual flag march. During last year’s flag march, over 160 Palestinians were injured by Israeli troops and settlers.
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir – known for storming Al-Aqsa Mosque and aiming pistols at Palestinians in the street – will be attending the flag march.