Thousands celebrated the unity of the eternal Jewish capital city that had been postponed due to the Hamas rocket attack last month.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
Thousands of Israelis waved flags and paraded through the streets of Jerusalem Tuesday in a peaceful march after Palestinian terror groups failed in their bid to counter the event.
The flag parade is normally held on Jerusalem Day which marks the anniversary of the city’s reunification in 1967. The celebration was postponed after the Hamas terror group in Gaza fired a barrage of rockets at the city and sparked last month’s 11-day conflict with Gaza.
Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terror groups had encouraged Palestinians to come out by the thousands, but those mobs failed to materialize.
Before the march, Islamic Jihad posted a statement on its website calling on Arabs “to mobilize … to confront the incursions of the Israeli occupation and its desecration” of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and “to confront the march of Zionist flags.”
The terrorists called on Palestinian youth “to confront the settlers’ arrogance, and to thwart the march of the flags, to reaffirm that Jerusalem is ours, not the invading Zionists.”
Israeli police brought in additional officers to block any confrontations with the flag march, whose route was altered to go in through the Jaffa Gate to minimize the chance of clashes. Police reported that some 17 people were arrested for throwing rocks and assaulting policemen at several locations along the parade route, but there were no major incidents.
Although the IDF had deployed the Iron Dome defense system in case Hamas repeated its rocket attack, the only thing streaking through Jerusalem’s skies were the blue and white Israeli flags being waved by the participants.
However, in southern Israel, the national firefighting service reported battling dozens of brushfires near the Gaza border that were started by arson balloons launched from Gaza. No injuries or major damage were reported.
The annual flag march commemorates the reunification of the city that had been split down the middle in the 1948 War of Independence, with Jordan controlling the eastern half of the city and banning Jews from holy sites in the Old City. Following the victory in 1967, Israel declared the city open to people of all faiths and has guaranteed access to the city’s holy places.
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