Israelis waving national flags gather outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem during the annual flag march to mark Jerusalem Day on May 18, 2023. — AFP

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Israelis waving national flags gather outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem during the annual ‘flag march’ to mark ‘Jerusalem Day’ on May 18, 2023. — AFP
  • Another event in “series of escalatory disrespectful Israeli actions”: FO
  • Such acts defy all humanitarian, human rights laws and norms, says FO.
  • 50,000 people took part in Jewish prayer, local authorities report.

Pakistan on Saturday strongly condemned the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli occupation authorities and called upon the international community to take “urgent action” to quash “Israeli transgressions”, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

“Pakistan strongly condemns [the] storming of [the] Al Aqsa Mosque by a member of the Israeli occupation authority and members of the Knesset under [the] protection of Israeli occupation forces,” the statement read.

On Thursday, tens of thousands of Israeli nationalists marched to Jerusalem’s Old City in an annual flag-waving march commemorating Israel’s capture of it, as tensions on the Gaza border ran high.

The FO’s statement further added that the march was “yet another reprehensible event” that violated the sanctity of one of the holiest sites in Islam.

It referred to the incident as another event in a “series of escalatory Israeli actions disrespectful to religious sentiments of over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world”.

The FO, in its statement, said: “We reiterate that such acts are inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression and religion or belief of the Palestinian people, defying all humanitarian and human rights laws and norms.”

The FO further urged the international community to take urgent action to “end Israeli transgressions” in the occupied territories, adding that these transgressions had been conspicuously ascendant since the beginning of this year.

“We reaffirm unstinted support for the Palestinian cause and renew our call for a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian State, with pre-1967 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital being the only just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue,” the statement concluded.

The march

Ahead of the Isreali march to Jerusalem’s Old City, Palestinians in annexed east Jerusalem closed their shops and were banned from the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City — a social hub — to make way for the marchers, some of whom attacked journalists with rocks and bottles, an AFP reporter said.

Police said they made two arrests over the attack, one of an adult and one of a minor.

Thursday’s rally took place days into a ceasefire that ended deadly cross-border fighting with militants in Gaza.

Thirty-three people, including multiple civilians, were killed in the blockaded Palestinian enclave and two in Israel, a citizen and a Gazan labourer.

The march began in the western part of the city before passing into east Jerusalem and through the Old City to the Western Wall, where about 50,000 people took part in the Jewish evening prayer, according to local authorities.

In retaliation, thousands gathered in Gaza for a rival flag day on the Israeli border, many of them holding Palestinian flags.

Israeli troops fired tear gas towards anyone approaching the border fence, AFP reporters said.

A Palestinian security source in Gaza said the territory’s Islamist rulers, Hamas, fired a “warning rocket” into the sea, without elaborating.

The day marks Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem and its Old City following the Six-Day War of 1967 — a move never recognised by the international community.


— Additional input from AFP.

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