Palestine: Israeli mob attacks journalists covering nationalist flag march in occupied East Jerusalem

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Freelance Palestinian journalist Saif Al-Qawasmi was beaten by right-wing marchers while reporting on the nationalist flag march on 5 June in Jerusalem’s Old City. Local and foreign journalists were also assaulted and verbally abused. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), in condemning widespread attacks and violence against journalists who were carrying on their duties, and calls on the Israeli police to hold the perpetrators to account.

Videos of Palestinian freelance journalist Saif Al-Qawasmi, wearing a vest labelled ‘press’ and being beaten by a group of far-right youth during the Israeli flag parade on 5 June, circulated on social media. Al-Qawasmi, who is a Jerusalem resident, was reporting on the events for the local media platform Al-Asima News.

Israeli progressive newspaper Haaretz reported that one of their journalists, Nir Hasson, was knocked to the ground and beaten by right-wing youth.

The PJS denounced attacks with sticks and stones against journalists who were covering the parade. According to the union, 18 journalists were injured, including Diala Jweihan, Ghassan Eid, and Layali Eid.

Far-right Israeli nationalists also assaulted a foreign media crew. A team of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC News, was pushed and verbally abused, with one of their members hit in the face and pushed, before police intervened.

The Israeli police arrested five suspects participating in the parade, who threw objects towards journalists.

The so-called ‘Jerusalem Day’ is a national holiday that marks the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem following the Six Days war in 1967. Thousands of Israelis and Jews celebrate the date by parading the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City, from Damascus Gate in the Muslim quarter to the Western Wall. The parade has often sparked violent clashes between marchers and Palestinian residents, as well as anti-Arab hate speech and vandalism.

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