Disputed Jerusalem gay pride parade canceled

/ Source: Reuters

Organizers canceled a gay pride parade in Jerusalem on Thursday which ultra-Orthodox Jews had threatened to disrupt, after police said they needed to divert forces to guard against threatened Palestinian attacks.

Instead of Friday’s scheduled march through the streets of the holy city, Organizers said they will hold an event in a Jerusalem stadium. The move comes after Palestinian vows to revenge Israel’s shelling which killed 18 civilians in Gaza.

“We have always been attentive to the complex reality we find ourselves,” Hagai Elad, a member of the parade’s organizing group the Open House, told Israel Army Radio.

Officials in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox community said rabbis had agreed to the compromise and instructed their followers to halt nightly protests in religious neighborhoods of the city against the parade.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews view homosexuality as an abomination.

Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter told Israel Radio police would be unable to send the necessary forces to provide security for the parade because of a high alert across the country for possible Palestinian attacks.

Israeli artillery shelling killed 18 Palestinian civilians in a town in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, prompting threats by militant groups to renew suicide bombings in Israel.

Palestinians called the incident a massacre. Israeli leaders have expressed remorse for the incident, which they said was probably the result of rounds overshooting their target. The army said it was targeting rocket launchers.

Police initially approved the Jerusalem parade only after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the march taking place in the city.

The event had been postponed twice in the past, during Israel’s pullout from Gaza last year and its war against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas this summer.