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Hamas: Intl. community must pressure Israel to cancel ‘flag march’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli settlers enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound in al-Quds, on July 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has warned Israel it risks another war if it allows the right-wing groups and extremist settlers to march through the occupied Old City of East al-Quds.

Bassem Naim, head of Hamas's department of politics and foreign relations, strongly censured the Israeli regime and settlers for rolling the so-called March of the Flags in the occupied holy city on May 29.

The provocative march marks Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

The Hamas official urged the international community to pressure Israel to reroute the contested march by settlers, which is currently slated to pass through the heart of the Muslim quarter.

"The decision is in the hands of the Israelis and the international community. They can avoid a war and escalation if they stop this mad (march)," he said.

Naim said Hamas and other factions have discussed the so-called flag march with international mediators who told them that Israel was looking to avoid a flare-up.

Prime minister Naftali Bennett has defended a decision by Israeli forces to let Sunday's march enter the Damascus Gate and pass through the Muslim quarter.

However, Naim said an increasingly powerful Palestinian resistance would never accept such thinking.

"I expect that Hamas and the other factions are ready to do all they can to prevent this event, regardless of how much it costs us," he said.

“Who said that the reaction will only be from Gaza? Perhaps you will have retaliatory attacks inside al-Quds, I don't know. Not ordered from us,” he said, pointing to a spate of recent attacks in Israel by individuals not affiliated to Palestinian factions.

"The battle isn't with Hamas alone, it is with the Palestinian people," he said.

The so-called flag march was originally scheduled to be held on May 10, but Israel's right-wing groups shelved the controversial parade after police refused to authorize it and Hamas warned of the consequences.

Nonetheless, the Israeli right-wingers reached an agreement with the Israeli public security minister Omer Bar-Lev to let the show roll in the occupied holy city on May 29.

The Palestinian presidency also earlier this week denounced a ruling by an Israeli court to allow Jewish rituals at al-Aqsa Mosque.

In a statement released on Monday, the presidency warned that the Israeli court’s ruling was a serious violation of the existing historical status quo of al-Haram al-Sharif and flagrant defiance of international law and United Nations resolutions.

It further censured the Israeli regime and settlers for the provocative march in the occupied holy city on May 29.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, located in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, is a flash point. Under a 1967 deal between Israel and Jordan, the compound’s custodian, non-Muslim worship is prohibited at the site. In defiance of the agreement, Israel allows settlers to enter the site and carry out religious rituals.

The presidency has demanded the US administration, the main backer of the Israeli regime, to immediately intervene to stop Israeli assaults on the Palestinian people and their holy places.

Palestinian officials and resistance groups have repeatedly voiced concerns over the Israeli regime’s plot to divide al-Aqsa into Jewish and Muslim sections or set visiting times.

Recently, there has been a sheer escalation of atrocities by the Israeli regime against Palestinian worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Outraged by the Israeli barbarity, Palestinian resistance groups have intensified their operations throughout the occupied territories.

The clashes in al-Quds had sparked fears of another armed conflict similar to an 11-day war in May last year between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian resistance groups, including Hamas.

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