Ir Amim Revives Demand to Reroute Flag Parade Away from Muslim Quarter

Ir Amim has renewed its annual advocacy to reroute the annual Flag Parade away from the Muslim Quarter with a letter to the Jerusalem District Police Commander, Mayor Barkat and the Attorney General. Every year the Flag Parade – a focal point of Jerusalem Day, founded to celebrate Israel’s 1967 “reunification” of the city – becomes a magnet for Jewish nationalist protesters who march through the Muslim Quarter via the Damascus Gate.  Extensive photographic documentation evidences alarming acts of violence and incitement, including marchers banging on windows of residences shouting “Death to Arabs,” “The Temple will be built; burn the mosque” and “Muhammad is dead”; spitting, pushing and vandalizing of public and personal property.  Some residents have reported barricading themselves in their homes to protect themselves.
Ir Amim’s request references two past High Court rulings from 2015 and 2016. In 2015, the court declared that there should be zero tolerance for violence in the parade and called for strict police enforcement. In 2016, due to the concurrence of the Flag Parade with the start of Ramadan, the court ruled that marchers had to be out of the Muslim Quarter by 7:30 PM, rather than continuing to march until late night hours.
Despite the Court’s past rulings to take proactive steps to prevent violence, the very routing of the Flag Parade through the Muslim Quarter will continue to impose severe restrictions on Palestinian residents’ freedom of movement and commerce. Last year’s parade was still marked by acts of violence, racism and incitement. Given the Police’s failure to prevent violence by marchers in past years, and the heightened tension and nationalist fervor expected given the concurrence of the Flag Parade and the 50th year of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, all steps must be taken to keep the marchers out of the Muslim Quarter and ensure that the rights of local Palestinian residents are protected.