Some 2,000 people took part in the Women in Green organization’s 24th annual “Walk Around the Old City,” in honor of the Tisha B’Av holiday on Sunday, despite calls on the international community by the Palestinian Authority to forcibly halt the march.
Tisha B’Av is an annual holiday mourning the destruction of two Holy Temples inside the Old City, and is marked with fasting, reading from the book of Lamentations and restrictions on activities that might evoke joy or pleasure.
Despite the fact that Tisha B’Av is a 25-hour fast day, Jews gathered for a march circumnavigating the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, which included speeches from Minister for Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ze’ev Elkin, Deputy Minister of Defense MK Rav Eli Ben Dahan, Deputy Mayor of the City of Jerusalem Dov Kalmanovich, chairman of the Republican Party in Israel Marc Zell and popular Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the march, calling it “provocative.”
“The Ministry confirmed that this march is an extension of the state of extremism that dominates the political arena in Israel and the settlers since Trump’s ominous declaration on Jerusalem, and the transfer of the embassy and the continuous Judaization of the Holy City and its separation from its Palestinian surroundings,” they said in a press release issued prior to the march.
The Palestinian ministry called upon foreign countries to intervene against Women in Green, an organization established in 1993 to protest against the Oslo Accords plan to cede land to a Palestinian state.
The march went off without a hitch, however, with Women in Green issuing a response.
“Indeed,” they wrote, “the walk on the eve of Tisha B’Av is intended to reinforce our sovereignty in the eternal city, the capital of Israel, Jerusalem. … We are proud that this walk constitutes another layer in the process of preventing the establishment of a terror state in the heart of the Land … ”
“Jerusalem under Israel’s sovereignty is a cosmopolitan city representing freedom, holiness and morality,” they added, calling upon all Israelis to join the walk on Saturday night.
“The People of Israel is here because this is our land and the capital of this land is Jerusalem, toward which we have prayed for thousands of years,” said Women in Green. “Only under our Israeli sovereignty can all of the nations and religions pray in it and travel in it freely and safely.”