June 2 (UPI) — Tens of thousands of Israelis marched through Jerusalem’s Old City in celebration of Jerusalem Day on Sunday, prompting clashes and other tensions as they walked through Palestinian areas.
The annual holiday celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem and Israel gaining control during the Six Day War and includes groups marching through the Old City in various routes.
This year’s celebration took place on the final day of the Muslim religious holiday of Ramadan, drawing some ire from Palestinian shop owners on the parade route and residents of the Muslim Quarter who are forced to close their businesses and advised to stay indoors during the parade.
Police reported riots early in the day as Jews were allowed to enter the Temple Mount compound, even though non-Muslims are usually prohibited from entering the holy site during Ramadan.
Jerusalem District Commander Maj. Gen. Doron Yadid ordered police forces to enter Temple Mount to quell the riots and Palestinian reports said at least one person was detained and removed from the holy site.
Israel’s High Court of Justice had rejected a petition against closing the site to non-Muslims, leaving the decision to police who declared it would remain closed to Jews and tourists.
A group of young people from dozens of yeshivas, pre-military academies and other institutions also marched through the Western Wall plaza for the Dance of Flags celebration, but no security incidents were reported.
Rabbi Shai Winter said there is a “deal of divine providence” related to Jerusalem Day, despite it not being a religious holiday.
“It is a day of faith, of nationalism, of religion, of Torah and it is the revelation of God’s presence,” he said.
Some Palestinians declared the parade routes that travel through the Muslim Quarter as a provocation, stating the marchers could move through Jaffa Gate to avoid conflict.