Israeli police detain Palestinian journalist attacked by extremist mob

Said Al Qawasmi was held shortly after being injured

Palestinian journalist Saif Al Qawasmi is attacked by young Israeli ultranationalists during the Flag March in Jerusalem. Photo: Maya Levin / X
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Israeli police detained Palestinian journalist Saif Al Qawasmi shortly after he was attacked by an extremist mob in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Al Qawasmi, a freelance photographer for several Arab outlets, was held for about an hour and a half after an Israeli ultranationalist told police he was a member of Hamas, Haaretz reported.

The arrest came shortly after Al Qawasmi was assaulted by dozens of mostly teenage Israelis, who surrounded him close to Damascus Gate.

The image quickly became emblematic of the horrors Palestinian residents of Jerusalem’s Old City face during the annual Flag March, a deeply contentious parade through the Muslim Quarter.

The Haaretz report – written by journalist Nir Hasson, who was also attacked trying to protect Al Qawasmi – said there was no evidence any of Al Qawasmi’s attackers had been summoned by police.

The National found Al Qawasmi seeking shelter in an alley shortly after the attack, dazed and visibly shaken.

“The settlers stole my phones, filming equipment and they beat me and insulted me,” he told The National on Thursday after his ordeal.

“The life of a Palestinian journalist, especially in Jerusalem, is very difficult. But after October 7, Palestinian journalists became, in the eyes of the police, a regular civilian, even a terrorist."

Police said Al Qawasmi was "not recognised at all as a journalist with relevant documentation that is valid in Israel”.

“Regardless of this, we view violence against any person, whether he is a journalist or not, very seriously,” police added.

“There is no connection between the incident in which he was attacked and its investigation and his detention following another report received on suspicion of incitement.

"In this case, he was detained, questioned and released within a short time, and this complaint against him is also being investigated by the police."

Updated: June 07, 2024, 4:27 PM