The IPI global network is deeply alarmed by reports of multiple violent attacks against journalists by crowds who participated in an annual march in East Jerusalem on June 5. We call on Israeli authorities to swiftly investigate these attacks and prosecute all those responsible.

On June 5, thousands of Israeli youth paraded through the streets of the Muslim Quarter in East Jerusalem to participate in the annual “Jerusalem Day Flag March”, which marks the capture of the eastern half of Jerusalem and its holy sites in the war of 1967. The event, often attended by Israeli religious nationalists, has been a flashpoint in the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and has led to violent clashes between marchers and Palestinian residents of the Old City. This year, tensions were especially high due to the ongoing Israel-Gaza War. According to reports, police were present during the march.

Before the march officially began, a group of youth entered the Muslim Quarter, attacking Palestinians and journalists. Among those attacked were Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) correspondent Alison Horne and her crew. Horne reported being hit in the face, pushed, and verbally abused.

Saif Kwasmi, a freelance Palestinian journalist was also attacked; photo and video documentation of the attack show a group grabbing him by his press vest and kicking him. Haaretz journalist Nir Hasson was pushed to the ground and kicked until police arrived. Hasson reports that at least one other photojournalist was hit in the head by bottles thrown from the mob of people.

As of June 6, police had arrested 18 individuals for various crimes committed during the march–including five individuals on suspicion of assaulting Kwasmi and Hasson. Footage of the attacks show more than five taking part in the assault.

“IPI is deeply concerned by reports that multiple journalists were assaulted while covering a public march in Jerusalem. Journalists have the right to report freely and without fear of assault or harassment”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “Authorities must conduct a swift and independent investigation — and every individual involved in these appalling attacks must be brought to justice.”