Hamas Asks Palestinians to 'Resist' Israeli Nationalist Parade Through Jerusalem's Old City

Hamas called on Palestinians to "resist" an Israeli nationalist parade through Jerusalem's Old City that was approved Monday by Israel's new government.

The parade's approval comes weeks after a violent 11-day war between Israel and Hamas militants and is planned to take place Tuesday. Israeli media reported that the parade's crowd would not enter the Muslim Quarter as it always has each year. The celebration was supposed to take place May 10 but had been delayed due to tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

A statement from Hamas urged Palestinians to take to the streets in the Old City and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque to "rise up in the face of the occupier and resist it by all means to stop its crimes and arrogance."

The Israeli nationalist parade celebrates how Israel seized east Jerusalem during the 1967 Mideast war.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Israeli Flags During Parade in Jerusalem
Jewish men wave Israeli flags in front of Damascus gate in Jerusalem's Old City during a parade marking Jerusalem Day, June 6, 2005 in Jerusalem, Israel. Hamas asked Palestinians to "resist" this year's Israeli nationalist parade. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Israel's approved contentious parade sets the stage for possible renewed confrontations.

The parade, scheduled for Tuesday, creates an early test for the fledgling government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett—a patchwork of parties that includes hard-line nationalists as well as the first Arab party to sit in a governing coalition.

Every year, Israeli ultranationalists hold the boisterous march, waving blue-and-white flags and chanting slogans as they march through the Old City's Damascus Gate and into the heart of the Muslim Quarter. The Palestinians consider the march a provocation.

At the time of the parade's original scheduling, tensions already were high following weeks of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's holiest sites, as well as attempts by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes in a nearby neighborhood.

As thousands of Jewish activists began the procession, police ordered a change in the route to avoid the Damascus Gate. Hamas militants in Gaza then fired a barrage of rockets toward Jerusalem, igniting the war that took over 250 Palestinian lives and killed 13 people in Israel.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said U.N. officials have made clear "the need for all sides to refrain from unilateral steps and provocations, for them to exercise restraint and allow for the necessary work to be done to solidify the current cease-fire."

Omer Bar-Lev, the new Cabinet minister who oversees police, said he met with police, military and top security officials to review the plan.

"I got the impression that the police are well-prepared and a great effort is being made to preserve the delicate fabric of life and public security," Bar-Lev said.

His statement gave no details on the parade route. But Israeli media said the crowd would walk past the Damascus Gate.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said about 2,000 police would be deployed.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem after the 1967 war and considers the area, home to the city's most sensitive religious sites, to be part of its capital. The competing claims to the holy city by Palestinians and Israelis lie at the heart of the conflict and have sparked many rounds of violence.

Hamas issued a statement calling on Palestinians to show "valiant resistance" to the march.

Israeli Channel 13 TV said the military was on heightened alert in the occupied West Bank and along the Gaza front to prepare for possible violence.

The military said it was "conducting ongoing situational assessments and is prepared for a variety of developments and scenarios." It said, however, there were no reinforcements of troops.

Israeli lawmakers on Sunday narrowly approved Bennett's new governing coalition, ousting Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in power.

On Monday, Bennett held a brief handover meeting with his predecessor, but without the formal ceremony that traditionally accompanies a change in government—a sign of Netanyahu's lingering anger and hostility toward the new government.

Bennett presides over a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight small and midsize parties with deep ideological differences—but promised to try to heal the divided nation. Netanyahu serves as the opposition leader.

David Bitan, a Likud lawmaker, told Kan public radio that Netanyahu did not hold a formal handover ceremony with Bennett because he feels "cheated" by the formation of the Bennett-Lapid government and "doesn't want to give even the slightest legitimacy to this matter."

The coalition includes three parties that are headed by politicians who used to be Netanyahu allies, including Bennett. Although they share Netanyahu's hard-line ideology on many issues, the three leaders clashed with the divisive former prime minister over his personality and leadership style.

Under a coalition agreement, Bennett will hold the office of premier for the first two years of the term, and then Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, the architect of the coalition, will become prime minister.

Bennett, 49, became prime minister after Sunday's 60-59 vote in Knesset, capping a chaotic parliamentary session. The motion passed after a member of the coalition was taken by ambulance from hospital to the parliament building to cast her vote, and despite an abstention by a coalition member from the Islamist Raam party.

Bennett faces a challenge of holding the tenuous coalition together and said he is prioritizing mending the many rifts dividing Israeli society.

Jerusalem Day Parade
In this May 10, 2021, file photo, Israelis wave national flags during a Jerusalem Day parade, in Jerusalem. Israel’s new government on Monday, June 14 approved a contentious parade by Israeli nationalists through Palestinian areas around Jerusalem's Old City, setting the stage for possible renewed confrontations just weeks after an 11-day war with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. Hamas called on Palestinians to “resist” the march. Ariel Schalit/AP Photo