Israeli authorities announced on Wednesday that flag-waving Jewish nationalists will march into the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City’s major Palestinian artery later this month.
The decision has the potential to reignite conflict in Jerusalem.
The march will take place on May 29 along its “customary route” through Damascus Gate, according to the office of Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev.
Thousands of Israeli nationalists take part in the march each year, waving Israeli flags, singing songs, and yelling anti-Arab slurs as they pass through Palestinian spectators and shops.
The decision was taken after consultations with police, according to Barlev’s office.
The march is intended to commemorate Israel’s 1967 Mideast war victory in the takeover of east Jerusalem. Following that, Israel annexed the territory in a move that was not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be their future capital.
Even when authorities adjusted the route at the last minute to avoid Damascus Gate, last year’s Gaza war erupted as the march was just getting started.
The Old City, in east Jerusalem, has seen weeks of violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian activists, and the march promises to exacerbate the situation.
An Israeli police crackdown during the funeral of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last Friday heightened tensions further. Police pushed and battered mourners as the funeral procession began, leading the pallbearers to lose control of the casket and nearly drop it.
Last week, a well-known journalist, Abu Akleh, was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military incursion in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians allege she was shot by Israeli troops, according to witnesses who were there. Israel claims Palestinian gunmen were in the area, although it is unclear who fired the fatal gunshot.