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No Jews arrested over violent, racist march in Jerusalem: Report

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli police arrested dozens of Palestinians but no Jews during a nationalist march through Jerusalem this week in which crowds of Jews chanted racist slogans, assaulted Palestinians and vandalised Palestinian property, an Israeli newspaper reported on Thursday.

Israeli police had said last Sunday’s march that over 60 people were arrested, but have refused to give a breakdown, despite queries by The Associated Press. The Haaretz daily reported on Thursday that it checked arrest records name by name, and found that no Jews were among those detained. It said two Jews were arrested in a separate, related incident.

Tens of thousands of Israeli nationalists participated in Sunday’s parade – an annual march that celebrates Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians consider the event a provocation.

Israeli police cleared out the area for the marchers, who passed through a Palestinian neighbourhood before proceeding to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City to pray at the Western Wall.

Large crowds, many of them young Orthodox Jewish youths carrying Israeli flags, gathered at the entrance to the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, dancing and chanting racist slogans before continuing on their way.

Palestinians and Jewish youth clash in Jerusalem’s Old City. PHOTO: AP

Inside the Old City, the marchers pounded on the gates of Palestinian businesses and scuffled with angry Palestinian residents. Videos on social media showed marchers spitting, beating and spraying pepper spray at Palestinians and journalists.

Fights broke out along the route, as police mainly intervened to protect Jews and forcibly disperse Palestinians.

According to the Haaretz report, nearly all of those arrested on Thursday were Palestinian.

Two Jewish suspects were arrested after the parade in the beating of a Palestinian journalist during unrest outside the Old City, it said. The newspaper compiled the statistics by going through court records in the days after the parade.

Israeli police did not respond to a request for comment.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said only a small minority of the flag marchers was responsible for the bad behavior and vowed to prosecute law-breakers.

Several other journalists were physically assaulted while covering the march, according to the Foreign Press Association, which represents international media outlets operating in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

It said Israeli participants verbally and physically assaulted a BBC team, and assaulted a France 24 reporter on air. It said Quique Kierszenbaum, a freelance photographer and producer covering the march for foreign media, was pepper sprayed by an Israeli participant and punched in the face by an Israeli Border Police officer.

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