Far-right MP accuses police of 'surrendering to Hamas' after Old City ban

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The leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party visited the Damascus Gate, to protest against the Israeli police chief's decision to prevent right-wing....

The leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party visited the Damascus Gate, to protest against the Israeli police chief's decision to prevent right-wing member of Knesset, Itamar Ben-Gvir, from entering the old city, in East Jerusalem on Thursday.

Itamar Ben-Gvir could be seen speaking to the media under heavy protection from armed police, as he waved the Israeli flag.

"The fact that a parliament member in Israel can't march in the old city, is a deterioration, it's surrendering to Hamas and to the terror, said Ben-Gvir.

Speaking on his decision to visit the Damascus Gate in protest, Ben-Gvir continued, "I'm not surrendering, I came to say that the chief of police acted is a disgraceful way, he needs to go home. I'm here in Jerusalem, and will march here."

Palestinians also came to protest Ben-Gvir's visit, leading to the police firing stun grenades, with 14 protesters reportedly being arrested.

"Ben-Gvir is responsible for any drop of blood that is spilt here in the holy land. This city wants to live in peace," said Abu Ahmad, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem.

The 'Flag March,' which marks Jerusalem Day and is overseen by Israeli nationalists annually on May 10, involves participants celebrating the capture of East Jerusalem in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. The march is now expected to go ahead on June 15.

Plans for the march to take place with the original route were initially approved, but then postponed to Tuesday, three days after the planned swearing in of the new unity government.

Ben-Gvir, along with another right-wing member of the Knesset, May Golan, announced they would go ahead with a march through the Muslim Quarter on Thursday. Police later refused to authorise the plans, citing concerns that their presence would lead to violence from Arab residents, and cause unrest among the Arab population.

This year's march saw a route change out of security fears due to heightened tensions over planned evictions of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem and riots between Palestinians and Israeli forces in Al-Aqsa compound.

In a press conference earlier in the week, senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayya issued a warning of retaliation if the march goes ahead.


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