Israel is marching eyes wide open toward Operation Guardian of the Walls 2, and there is no responsible adult to stop the catastrophe, neither at the political nor the security level.
Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev decided last week that this year, the Flag March – to be held in Jerusalem on Monday – will pass through Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter. Not only will this ugly march of Jewish supremacy pass through the Muslim Quarter, but the police are expected to impose restrictions during the march on Muslim Old City residents. In order for this bunch of racist ultra-nationalists to be able to heat up the Middle East at the Damascus Gate plaza, the police will prohibit Muslims from passing through there. And that’s what those pyromaniacs call sovereignty.
Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and Jerusalem District Commander Doron Yadid should have made clear to the minister in charge and to the government that this is dangerous baiting of the Palestinians at a sensitive time, and in the most volatile spot in the world. But instead, they are partners in the chauvinist folly of the politicians.
At the Israel Bar Association convention held Sunday in Eilat, Shabtai defended his decision to hold the march, saying that the route will strengthen governability. “It is governability that led us to recommend to the political echelon to hold the Flag March according to the years-long tradition,” he said, adding: “The Israel Police will allow everyone freedom of worship, protest and expression.”
As expected, the natural partners to this sick tango snapped up the invitation from Jerusalem: The head of the Hamas political wing, Ismail Haniyeh, warned of the implications of holding the march and called on “the Palestinian people to be on the highest alert to prevent aggression in Al Aqsa Mosque,” and that “the forces of Palestinian resistance” will not allow the march to take place.
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It’s embarrassing to think that a representative of the left wing sits in the Public Security Ministry in the “government of change.” It seems that the attempt by the left-wing ministers to prove their right-wing bona fides and kowtow to a public that will never vote for them has led them to lose the last vestige of their dignity. Even former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided last year, albeit too late, that the Flag March would not go through Damascus Gate. Is this what Jerusalem needs right now, as the Palestinians try to calm down after the traumatic events at the funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh?
If Bar-Lev doesn’t see the disaster to which he is leading Israel into, hopefully Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will wake up and order Bar-Lev to overturn his reckless decision and stop this lunacy, for the sake of all Israelis.
The above article is Haaretz's lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.