The US State Department called on Israel and the Palestinians to “prevent escalations or provocations that might provide a spark to renewed violence,” after the Netanyahu government’s security cabinet agreed to permit a rescheduled flag march to take place through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a briefing on Wednesday that the US has conducted private diplomacy on the issue of maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
The march was initially rescheduled from Jerusalem Day, when it was first rerouted and then canceled as rockets fired from Gaza landed in the city, to June 10. The Israel Police last week ordered the rescheduled march canceled due to security concerns But the government’s security cabinet decided late Tuesday night to move the march to June 15, and to modify the route.
“We all saw what precipitated the last flare-up of violence. And we know just how delicate this situation is,” Price said, responding to a reporter’s question about the march. “So I don’t want to put an undue spotlight on any particular escalation, but I think to us it is important that all sides refrain from steps that exacerbate tensions, and that they actively take steps to avoid provocations or escalations.”