Israeli government authorises controversial Jerusalem march
Israel's outgoing government Tuesday approved a controversial march by far-right Jewish nationalists through occupied East Jerusalem next week, according to a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.
"The march will be held on Tuesday, 15 June," the statement said, adding that the cabinet had approved the decision and that the event would be held in a format to "be agreed by police and organisers".
Organisers a day earlier had called off the march, originally due to take place on Thursday, due to Israeli police opposition to the route and as a top Hamas official warned Israel against letting it "approach east Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound".
The so-called March of the flags was due to take place on Thursday and proceed through flashpoint spots in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem.
News of its cancellation came as Khalil Hayya, a senior Hamas figure of the Palestinian group Hamas, warned the march could spark new violence. It was not clear if the cancellation was linked to his remarks.
Right-wing organisers described the march as a routine demonstration of free expression, but many critics feared it could set a match to already inflamed tensions, that have come as a result of Israel's forced expulsion of Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.