In tense Jerusalem, flag-waving Israeli march to go ahead

An injured Palestinian demonstrator is helped during a protest against the planned evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem, Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty): APTOPIX Israel Palestinians © Provided by Associated Press APTOPIX Israel Palestinians

JERUSALEM (AP) — Police on Sunday gave the go-ahead to the annual Jerusalem Day parade, a flag-waving display of Israeli claims to all of the contested city, despite days of unrest and soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a flashpoint holy site.

Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray during the Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of destiny, in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in front of the Dome of the Rock Mosque at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) © Provided by Associated Press Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray during the Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of destiny, in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in front of the Dome of the Rock Mosque at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Monday's parade will pass through Jerusalem's Old City, part of east Jerusalem, which was captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. The march was approved amid ongoing clashes between police and Palestinians in the Old City, the emotional epicenter of the long-running conflict.

Palestinians pray after Iftar meal to break their fast during the last week of Ramadan, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem Saturday, May 8, 2021. Palestinians protested following Israel's threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, who have been embroiled in a long legal battle with Israeli settlers trying to acquire property in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty): Israel Palestinians © Provided by Associated Press Israel Palestinians

Before dawn Sunday, thousands of Muslim worshippers skirmished anew with police at the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City. Videos on social media showed Palestinians hurling water bottles and rocks at officers, who fired stun grenades.

Amos Gilad, a former senior defense official, told Army Radio that the Jerusalem Day parade should be canceled or rerouted away from the Old City’s Damascus Gate, saying “the powder keg is burning and can explode at any time.”

The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. It has been a tinderbox for serious violence in the past.

Dozens of Palestinians were wounded in violent confrontations with police in Jerusalem overnight from Saturday to Sunday, when Muslims marked Laylat al-Qadr, or the “night of destiny,” the holiest period of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

On Friday, more than 200 Palestinians were wounded in clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem, drawing condemnations from Israel’s Arab allies and calls for calm from the United States, Europe and the United Nations.

Police spokesman Eli Levi said Sunday that there were no plans to call off the Jerusalem Day parade, despite the rising friction and the potential for violence. He said police were constantly assessing the situation.

Monday afternoon's march marks Israel's capture of east Jerusalem and is typically attended by hardline nationalist Israelis, who wend their way through the Damascus Gate of the Old City and through the Muslim Quarter to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.

A worshipper prays during the Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of destiny, in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) © Provided by Associated Press A worshipper prays during the Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of destiny, in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The annual event is widely perceived as provocative, and this year's parade comes at a particularly volatile time.

The march coincides with an expected decision Monday by Israel's Supreme Court on the fate of dozens of Palestinians who are fighting attempts by Israeli settlers to evict them from their homes in Jerusalem's Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Worshippers pray during the Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of destiny, in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) © Provided by Associated Press Worshippers pray during the Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of destiny, in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Palestinians and international rights groups portray the planned evictions as an ongoing campaign by Israel to drive Palestinians from traditionally Arab neighborhoods, especially in the heart of Jerusalem. Israel has cast the Sheikh Jarrah evictions case as a mere real estate dispute.

Policías israelíes impiden el paso a una manifestante palestina durante una protesta contra el desahucio programado de familias palestinas en el barrio Sheikh Jarra de Jerusalén oriental, el sábado 8 de mayo de 2021. (AP Foto/Oded Balilty) © Provided by Associated Press Policías israelíes impiden el paso a una manifestante palestina durante una protesta contra el desahucio programado de familias palestinas en el barrio Sheikh Jarra de Jerusalén oriental, el sábado 8 de mayo de 2021. (AP Foto/Oded Balilty)

The neighborhood has been the scene of regular confrontations, particularly during Ramadan, between Palestinian residents and their supporters on one side, and Israeli police and ultra-nationalist Israeli activists on the other.

An injured Palestinian demonstrator is helped during clashes at Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem's Old City, Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty): Israel Palestinians

In tense Jerusalem, flag-waving Israeli march to go ahead