Israeli nationalists held a march in Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem in 1967. The predominantly male Orthodox teenagers and young men, who participated in the march, were seen chanting bigoted slogans and waving Israeli flags.
However, tensions escalated as Palestinians were denied access to the majority of the Old City gates. The exclusion of Palestinians from the area sparked criticism and added to the already charged atmosphere.
During the event, several demonstrators assaulted journalists who were covering the march. The attacks resulted in injuries, including one suffered by a Palestinian correspondent for Haaretz. Two suspects were apprehended in connection with the assault, and authorities have described the incident as isolated.
Witnesses reported that the assault on journalists appeared to be unprovoked and aimed at preventing media coverage that would expose the perpetrators’ actions. This disturbing act underscores concerns about the freedom of the press and the ability of journalists to carry out their work without fear of violence.
In another incident related to the march, a Palestinian community leader conducting an interview in front of the al-Aqsa mosque had his phone stolen from him. Moreover, he was forcefully removed from the area and subsequently detained. The conduct of the police officers during this incident has drawn criticism, although the police spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
The march and its aftermath highlight the deep-rooted tensions surrounding the status of Jerusalem. After the 1967 war, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, considering it to be an integral part of its capital. In contrast, Palestinians view East Jerusalem as their future capital. The dispute over the city’s sovereignty has been a longstanding obstacle to peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.