The Israel Police on Monday pulled the permit given to the annual flag parade in Jerusalem, set to take place on Thursday, citing safety concerns and refusing to approve the march’s planned route.

While police stressed that they would revisit the issue if the route was changed, the organizers of the annual march, which would have seen hundreds if not thousands of people march through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City carrying Israeli flags, told the media the police had in fact canceled it.

Right-wing lawmakers and national religious groups said they would appeal the decision before the High Court of Justice.

Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich called the decision a “shameful capitulation to terrorism and Hamas threats.”

Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, he said, “is unable to protect marchers with Israeli flags on the streets of Jerusalem and unable to protect Jewish residents of Lod, Ramle and Akko. Now he is also making [Hamas leader in Gaza] Yahya Sinwar the one who runs Jerusalem.”

Last week, Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip, called on the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to riot if the march was allowed to go through the Old City, and vowed to “protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the malice of the Zionists and their schemes.”

Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party, also slammed the decision, tweeting: “Unfortunately, the police chief continued to capitulate to terrorism.”

“I, for one, don’t plan to give up: On Thursday, I will march across the full route [of the parade] in Jerusalem. I call on other MKs to join me and realize our [parliamentary] immunity and Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem,” he wrote.

Yehoda Vald, one of the organizers of the flag march, said, “The police informed us that the march was canceled. Apparently, the only one left deterred by ‘Operation Guardian of the Walls’ is Israel, which yields to the threats made by terrorists rather than allow a march of Israeli flags in the Israeli capital.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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