Israeli police have blocked a planned march by Jewish nationalists through Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem after a similar parade last month played a key role in escalating tensions that led to the latest conflict in Gaza.
In a statement, police said a permit for a different time or route could be considered.
The decision came when Israel faced an alarming week ahead, with the opposition coalition moving forward in its attempts to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A fragile and ideologically diverse new government can only be voted on in the Knesset on June 1
In the last few days, security officials have expressed concern about the rise of incitement and hate speech from hard-voiced voices, who are angry that the proposed government – albeit led by far-right nationalist Naftali Bennett – includes Arab and left-wing politicians .
Netanyahu, who has been in power for 12 consecutive years, has not done much to calm the situation. On Sunday, he accused the coalition of “election fraud”, as Bennett had promised during the campaign not to sit with leftist or Arab parties. Netanyahu suggested that people “rightly feel cheated and react.”
Opposition leader Jair Lapid, who was negotiating for the coalition, tried to call in right-wing voters on Monday. “I want to talk to Netanyahu’s supporters,” he said. “I know that forming a unity government is a crisis for some of you, but you will find that this government was not created against you.”
Still, he added: “If our political culture is based on lies and threats and hatred of Arabs, and hatred of leftists, and hatred of rightists who do not hate Arabs and leftists enough, then yes, we need change, too.” I brought a change. “
With the unfolding of the political drama, fired far-right groups prepared to march through the Old City on Thursday to parade Israeli control of the holy city, which he completely captured during the 1967 war and now claims to be its “undivided.” capital “.
Previous events have seen participants angrily slamming closed doors and chanting anti-Arab slogans as they descend through the Muslim Quarter.
Organizers complain that they failed to march properly, as they usually do on Jerusalem Day, a national holiday that came this year during a sharp rise in tensions over the Israeli occupation.
On May 10, when a week of police crackdown on Palestinian protesters and the potential eviction of families from the Sheikh Jara neighborhood peaked, Israeli authorities decided at the last minute to redirect the march from Arab areas.
However, the decision hardly calmed down the already spiral position. That evening, the parade was interrupted by air raid sirens after Hamas fighters fired rockets in the Gaza Strip, the initial volley of 11 days of intense fighting. More than 250 people were killed in Gaza and 13 in Israel before the ceasefire took effect on May 21.
After police announced on Monday that the march would not continue this week, Hamas, an Islamist group, celebrated the decision, saying it showed that Israel understood that the problems around the holy city were a red line.
In Israel, Bezalel Smotric, leader of a staunch alliance of religious Zionism, wrote on Twitter a warning to Netanyahu “not to succumb to Hamas threats.” There were also signs of discontent in Netanyahu’s own Likud party. MP Mickey Zohar said the repeal was a “handover of terrorism”, and Public Security Minister Amir Ohana proposed the decision be overturned.
“I hear about the complexity and difficulties and I still believe that the decision must be raised to a political level because of its importance,” he said.