Home News 18 arrested as Israeli nationalist flag parades through East Jerusalem

18 arrested as Israeli nationalist flag parades through East Jerusalem

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“We need revenge,” said marcher Noam Goldstein, 15, a high school student in a small Israeli settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank. “They attacked us, so we need revenge. But that doesn’t mean we need to kill everyone.”

But he added: “I want this whole piece of land to be ours.”

After Israel was founded in 1948, Jerusalem was divided in two: Israel controls the city’s western neighborhoods, while Jordan controls East Jerusalem, which is mostly populated by Palestinians. Israel captured East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it, a move not recognized by most countries, which still consider it occupied territory.

The annual rallies commemorating the occupation have heightened tensions and sparked 11 days of clashes between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in May 2021. As the march was about to begin, Hamas fired rockets into Jerusalem, setting off rocket sirens and sending thousands of people running for cover.

On Wednesday, Shilo Tzoref, a 19-year-old religious school student, tried to distance himself from some of the more violent chants. “The core idea is that Jerusalem belongs to us,” he said. “You shouldn’t beat up every Arab you see on the street. This is about celebrating Jerusalem’s holy day, not fighting with our enemies.”

Earlier on Wednesday, some Israeli Jews climbed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a controversial holy site known to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to Jews as the Temple Mount. Under a long-standing agreement at the sensitive holy site, non-Muslims can visit but only Muslims can pray.

The march was also attended by Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir, a far-right political leader who has long pushed for Jews to worship on the Temple Mount. He said Jews were breaking the status quo by praying freely on the Temple Mount in accordance with his orders to police.

“We are here to tell them that Jerusalem is ours, Damascus Gate is ours, the Temple Mount is ours,” Ben Gvir told reporters at the march.

Ephrat Livni Contributed reporting.

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