Tor Wennesland, United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, expressed his concerns about Sunday’s nationalist flag march in the Israeli capital in statements echoed by several Israeli officials.
“I am deeply concerned by the spiral of violence that has claimed too many Palestinian and Israeli lives in recent weeks,” he wrote in an official statement, referring to the recent spate of Palestinian terrorism and the shooting of Palestinians in clashes with Israeli security forces.
“As we approach May 29, I urge all sides to exercise maximum restraint and make wise decisions to avoid another violent conflict that will only claim more lives. I have been in contact with all parties concerned and urge their leaders to heed this call. “
Several Israeli security officials tasked with working out the logistics for the Jerusalem Day march spoke of the challenges.
Border Police commander Eli Gozlan said Israel’s “biggest concern right now is the social media hate speech spearheaded by the terrorist group Hamas. They spread fake news. For more than 30 years the march has followed the exact same route and we have no intention of changing it. Of course, there is absolutely no intention of entering the Temple Mount grounds.
“All lies spread are dangerous and harmful to democracy. They are calling for violence and riots,” Gozlan said.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) called in reservists to bolster the presence on the ground.