Jerusalem - More than a thousand marchers bearing Israeli flags gathered outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday at the start of a controversial Jewish ultranationalist march that poses a key test to Israel’s new government during its second full day in office.

 With tensions high amid a fragile ceasefire after 11 days of deadly fighting between Israel and Gaza militants less than four weeks ago, medics said 17 Palestinians were injured as thousands of Israeli police cleared streets ahead of the march in annexed east Jerusalem.

The so-called March of the Flags celebrates the anniversary of the city’s “re-unification” after Israel captured its east, including the Old City which houses sites holy to all three Abrahamic faiths, in 1967.

In the basin of steps outside the Damascus Gate, AFP reporters saw over 1,000 demonstrators waving a sea of blue and white flags and singing anthems of the Jewish state’s settler movement. 

Some hoisted firebrand far-right lawmaker and Netanyahu ally Itamar Ben-Gvir on their shoulders.