Israeli settlers' flag march arrives at Damascus Gate amid tension
17 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces near Damascus Gate, says Palestinian Red Crescent Society
A controversial flag march, organized by Israeli far-right settlers reached the Damascus Gate, one of occupied East Jerusalem's Old City gates, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.
According to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth, the march began from HaNevi'im street in West Jerusalem.
It said around 5,000 Israelis are participating in the march – including lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right extremist from the Religious Zionist Party.
The daily also reported that four Arab lawmakers in Israel, Ahmad Tibi, Ayman Odeh, Osama Saadi and Sami Abu Shehada, arrived at the Damascus Gate and criticized the decision to allow the march.
Witnesses told Anadolu Agency that the Israeli settlers were chanting "death to Arabs" as they arrived at the Damascus Gate.
Earlier, the Israeli police said the march would stop at the Damascus Gate.
Israeli authorities have deployed thousands of security personal across East Jerusalem's Old City.
Meanwhile, Mansour Abbas, an Arab lawmaker who is joining the new Israeli coalition government, warned against igniting the situation by approving the march whom he described as "provocative."
For its part, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said 17 Palestinians were injured by the Israeli forces near the Damascus Gate as the Israeli flag march started.
The march had originally been planned for May 10 to mark what the Israelis call the day of unifying Jerusalem, in reference to Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967, but the march was canceled amid tensions that escalated into 11 days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza.
The fighting came to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered truce on May 21.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara