PA called for religious war against Jerusalem Day Flag March

Palestinian media repeats the lie that Jerusalem was never the capital of a Jewish state

The Jerusalem flag march, June 15, 2021. Photo by Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
The Jerusalem flag march, June 15, 2021. Photo by Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
Itamar Marcus. Credit: Courtesy.
Itamar Marcus
Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch.

In non-democratic regimes, when leaders recognize that they have lost the support of their own people and are even seen as a corrupt enemy, they often seek conflict or war to create an enemy to distract the people from the real source of their problems.

Palestinian Authority and Fatah Party leader Mahmoud Abbas has lost the support of his people. A decisive 80% say his government is corrupt and a similar number want him to resign. Fatah faces almost certain defeat at the hands of Hamas if the P.A. were to hold elections. So, it’s not a surprise that Abbas wants to trigger a religious war against Jews and Israel.

On Sunday, Israel celebrated the anniversary of Jerusalem’s liberation in 1967 from almost 2,000 years of foreign occupation. For more than 30 years now, tens of thousands of Israelis march and dance through the city on Jerusalem Day as they wave Israeli flags. During the traditional Flag March, they enter the Old City through the Lion’s Gate and—in more recent times—the Damascus Gate, and finish at the Western Wall plaza to celebrate with music and dance.

Mahmoud Abbas sees this event as a great opportunity to incite violence and terror in the “name of Islam”—an opportunity that will serve his other goal: to distract the Palestinian people from his failed leadership.

Yesterday, Abbas’ Fatah posted a video from its Awdah TV on an official party Facebook page that showed Palestinian riots in Jerusalem. The video called on Palestinians to stop yesterday’s parade and prevent the Israeli flag from being waved in Jerusalem. Palestinians were told:

Defending Jerusalem is not [just] a normal duty, but rather a test of our religious and national conscience. Fatah calls on you to set out against the provocative Flag March, which will be held tomorrow in Jerusalem as part of the attempts by the occupation and its settlers to Judaize our eternal capital. Jerusalem is waiting for its guardians, so don’t be negligent and don’t let their flags wave in our sky.

[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, May 28, 2022]

The posted text had the same message:

The Fatah Movement calls on you to come out against the provocative [Jerusalem Day] Flag March, which will be held tomorrow, Sunday [May 29, 2022], in Jerusalem as part of the attempts by the occupation and its settlers to Judaize our eternal capital.

Abbas’s office released a similar statement, which called on Palestinians to “challenge” and “confront” Israel. The P.A.’s announcement further noted that their call for violence is very serious, and reminds Palestinians that last year’s Flag March triggered an 11-day war with Hamas:

The Presidency Wednesday night stated that Israeli occupation authorities underestimate the Palestinian people’s determination to challenge the occupation by insisting on allowing the annual “March of the Flags” in East Jerusalem.

Presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said … it is now the time for Jerusalem to become a beacon for all Palestinians and Arabs to confront these assaults [i.e., the Flag March] that are destabilizing the region. … He called on the Israeli government to refrain from such provocations that can only further inflame tensions, fueling more unrest and violence, with dire consequences, and held it fully responsible for this escalation that would lead to an explosion of the situation. …

Last week, Israel’s “Public Security” Minister Omer Barlev announced that the march, scheduled for May 29, would be held along the same route as in previous years. … In 2021, a similar planned march by Jewish nationalists was one of the catalysts that ignited the full-scale confrontation between Israel and Palestinians across historic Palestine. [Over 11 days, Hamas fired 4,300 missiles at civilian targets in Israel and hundreds of Arabs rioted in mixed Jewish-Arab towns across Israel, murdering several Jews and burning synagogues, private homes and cars.] Originally scheduled for 10 May 2021, the march was postponed due to Palestinian resistance, which forced Israel into an embarrassing retreat.

[Wafa, official P.A. news agency, English edition, May 26, 2022]

Another Fatah Facebook post and video was also explicit in its call for violence in the name of Islam. The video exhorted Israelis to leave “because you have no history in our Jerusalem, and it is not your homeland.” It also called for “blood” and ended with the chant Allahu Akbar (“Allah is greatest”) repeated four times. The video included footage of Arab riots in Jerusalem.

[Narrator:] “O coward, you must leave because you have no history in our Jerusalem, and it is not your homeland.”

[A crowd chants:] “With spirit, with blood, we will redeem you Al-Aqsa Mosque … Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.”

[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, May 28, 2022]

The official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida ran a column that attacked the Flag March and repeated two fundamental Palestinian lies. First, it claimed that a Palestinian nation existed for 5,000 years with Jerusalem as its capital; second, it claimed that Jerusalem was never Israel/Judea’s capital.

The P.A. daily also continued to promote its Islamic ideology with the claim that the Western Wall of the Temple Mount belongs only to “believers of the religion of Islam”:

The [Palestinian] leadership … [must] defend [Jerusalem’s] Palestinian-Arab identity and character, and to wave Palestinian flags. … [Jerusalem] has been Palestinian since it was established 5,000 years ago. … [They must] inform the entire world without exception that Jerusalem is Jerusalem of the Arab Palestinians, and that the Al-Aqsa Mosque—including the Al-Buraq Wall [the Western Wall]—belongs only to believers of the religion of Islam … and also to expel from it the Zionist herds who are stealing the Palestinian land and Judaism to their lairs, until it will be liberated peacefully or through other means of struggle [i.e., violence and terror].

[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 26, 2022]

Fatah’s ruling body, the Central Committee, likewise called on Palestinians to come out “against this march”:

The Fatah central committee warned against approval of holding the provocative “Flag March” in occupied Jerusalem on May 29 [2022]. It viewed this as aggressive provocation and an inseparable part of the occupation’s unlimited war against Jerusalem, its residents and its holy sites. …

It held the occupation government directly responsible for the consequences of this ruling, which causes an escalation … and called on our people to come out against this march and wave the Palestinian flag high.

[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 23, 2022]

The official P.A. daily on both Friday and Saturday called on Palestinians to prevent the Flag March through ribat. Ribat is a term for religious conflict in defense of land claimed to be Islamic and can range from passive resistance to violent terror and murder:

The Fatah Movement called on our people to stand against the provocative “Flag March” in occupied Jerusalem and to come to the holy city, to carry out ribat there and not to let the settlers violate it, and it warned that this will lead to an explosion of the situation.

[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 28, 2022]

The Fatah Movement in Jerusalem called on our people to stand against the Flag March. Fatah urged our people to carry out ribat at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and increase the waving of the Palestinian flags in the alleys and streets of the Old City of Jerusalem.

[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 27, 2022]

Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, which originally published this article.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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