Jerusalem Day: Increased calls to alter Flag March route through Old City
Groups of Jewish youth movements wave Israeli flags as they celebrate Jerusalem Day by the Great Synagogue, on King George Street, before taking part in the parade to the Old City. Jerusalem Day celebrates the 47th anniversary of its capture of Arab East Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967. (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)

On the backdrop of the violent protests that took place this weekend on the Temple Mount, and which led to protests throughout Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, police and public figures are approaching Jerusalem Day events with caution.

Israel Police Spokesperson Commander Eli Levi told Army Radio on Sunday morning that all events are still scheduled as planned, but that "if the police identify a rise in the likelihood of innocent bystanders getting hurt as a result of Jews going up to the Temple Mount, we will, of course, reevaluate our plans."

As of Sunday, the route will not change this year, and will proceed through Damascus Gate, Israeli media noted.

On Thursday, Israel Police's Jerusalem District Chief Doron Turgeman begged for the flags parade route, which usually goes through the Old City of Jerusalem, to be rerouted amid the recent rising tensions.

Meretz MK Esawi Frej took to Twitter to express his concerns: "It only takes one match to light a fire. This match could be the approval that the settlers will get to advance with their Flags Parade at Bab al-Amud [Damascus Gate].

The parade route is usually through the Old City via Damascus Gate, into the Muslim quarter and finishing at the Western Wall.

For the Flags Parade, during the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. traffic will be blocked on the following roads: Bezalel Street, King George Street and Agron Street. It will reopen once all the marchers have continued on towards the Old City.

Additionally, the Light Rail will cease to run during the Flags Parade at the Kikar Tzahal station in both directions.

Following along with the parade, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., the streets of Yitshak Kariv, King Solomon, and the Jerusalem Brigade, among others.

Throughout the day, public transport will continue to run, but on different routes.

"Approving this provocation on the eve of iftar, especially during this sensitive time, could turn this into Meron 2.0," Frej warned.

Altercations between Palestinians, Israelis and Israel Police have been occurring almost nightly at Damascus Gate for the past few weeks.

"The [warning of] tragedy is written on the wall," Frej concluded, calling on Israel Police to actively work against another tragedy.

Former Counterterrorism Unit Commander David Tzur told Army Radio that "now is the time to think smart," referring to changing the parade route from its current plan.

Maj.–Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad recommended to "reevaluate the Flags Parade — I would remove anything [from the schedule] that could lead to any sort of friction. "Jerusalem is a powder keg right now," he warned, "it could explode at any minute."

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