Netanyahu lashes out at Israeli anti-Flag March ministers
Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netenyahu has responded angrily to current government ministers who claim the nationalist “Flag March” due to take place on Sunday is “endangering the whole Middle East”.
“Within the current government, there are those who think that the flags of Israel should not be hoisted here, in the heart of Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said at Jerusalem’s City Hall while announcing the launch of the Knesset’s “Jerusalem Lobby” this week.
“A minister in the government says that the parade of Israeli flags in Jerusalem is a provocation” he continued.
His comments came after environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg told Israeli media outlet Army Radio the march is “an act of defiance” on Wednesday.
Zandberg said it was “endangering the whole Middle East, the whole of Jerusalem and all of us.”
“There is a way to do this with less friction and with less danger of an explosion,” said Zandberg, from the left-wing Meretz party.
“Waving Palestinian Liberation Organization flags in Jerusalem, Lod, Tel Aviv, Beersheba – it is not a provocation. Burning the Israeli flag on the Temple Mount — it is not a provocation. But waving blue and white flags in the heart of Jerusalem is a provocation,” responded Netanyahu bitterly.
Earlier in May, baton-wielding Israeli forces in occupied east Jerusalem beat pallbearers carrying slain journalist Abu Akleh's coffin at her funeral, allegedly because it was covered in a Palestinian flag.
Last year Israeli extremists made their way through the Old City of Jerusalem, chanting ‘death to Arabs’, ‘may your villages burn’, and assaulting Palestinians in a much-delayed event with a lower turnout than expected.
Thousands of Israeli nationalists participate in the controversial annual march, waving Israeli flags, singing nationalist songs, and often chanting anti-Arab slogans as they pass through Palestinian neighbourhoods.
Flag Day is meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of Palestinian East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, which Israel has illegally occupied ever since.