Violence clouds the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem – the Citizen



Thousands of people flocked to Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday for the burial of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh after Israeli police stormed the funeral procession.

Television footage showed coffin bearers struggling to prevent Abu Akleh’s coffin from falling to the ground as police officers armed with batons charged towards them, grabbing Palestinian flags from mourners.

Washington said it was “deeply disturbed” by the scenes, while the European Union said it was “shocked” by “unnecessary force”.

According to the Red Crescent of Jerusalem, 33 people were injured during the procession, of which six were hospitalized.

Israeli police said they made six arrests. A government official said the mourners had thrown “stones and glass bottles”.

In a new shooting in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli commando was killed near the flashpoint city of Jenin. The Islamic Jihad group said its fighters were responsible.

Abu Akleh’s death during an Israeli raid in Jenin on Wednesday has Israel and Palestine sharing the blame.

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The Israeli military said an interim investigation was unable to determine who fired the fatal bullet, noting that stray Palestinian gunfire or Israeli sniper fire targeting militants were both possible causes.

Al Jazeera said Israel killed her “deliberately” and “in cold blood”.

In a rare unanimous statement, the UN Security Council on Friday condemned the killing and called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation,” according to diplomats, who noted that the wording negotiations were particularly controversial. .

Abu Akleh, a Christian and Palestinian American, was a prominent journalist and her funeral drew huge crowds.

As his body left St Joseph’s Hospital in Israel-annexed East Jerusalem, Israeli police stormed mourners who had hoisted Palestinian flags.

The Jewish state prohibits the public display of Palestinian flags and regularly intervenes against those who parade them during demonstrations or other gatherings.

‘inhumanity’

Police said they warned the crowd to stop the “nationalistic” songs and were forced to act as “violent rioters (they were) trying to disrupt the smooth running of the funeral.”

But prominent Palestinian figure Hanan Ashrawi said the police indictment of the coffin bearers showed Israel’s “inhumanity”.

The United States was “deeply disturbed to see the images of Israeli police intruding on its funeral procession today,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“Every family deserves to be able to rest their loved ones in a dignified and unhindered way”.

The EU tweeted that it was “shocked by the violence in the St Joseph Hospital complex and the level of unnecessary force exerted by the Israeli police during the funeral procession”.

US President Joe Biden discussed ways to deal with escalating violence in White House talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

“The leaders … discussed urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric and reduce tensions,” the White House said in a statement.

The French consulate general said the “police violence” in the hospital was “deeply shocking”.

And UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was “deeply troubled” by the violence, according to a spokesman.

Thousands of mourning Palestinians attempted to follow the coffin to the cemetery just outside the walled Old City.

Police briefly attempted to prevent them, but eventually caved, allowing thousands to flock to the grave, and did not intervene as Palestinian flags were being waved, AFP reporters said.

“Sister of all Palestinians”

As a sign of Abu Akleh’s importance, on Thursday she was offered what was described as a full state memorial service at Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ complex in Ramallah before her body was transferred to Jerusalem.

“His loss is a wound in our hearts,” said mourner Hadil Hamdan.

The United States, the European Union and the United Nations have supported the call for a full investigation into the murder of Abu Akleh.

Israel has publicly called for a joint investigation, which the Palestinian Authority has rejected.

The grief over Abu Akleh’s murder spills beyond the Palestinian territories, with protests erupting in Turkey, Sudan and elsewhere.

“She was the sister of all Palestinians,” her brother Antoun Abu Akleh told AFP.

New violence

New violence has erupted in the West Bank, including a raid and clashes around the Jenin refugee camp.

The slain Israeli officer was identified as Noam Raz, a 47-year-old father of six children. Police said he was wounded “in a shooting with armed terrorists” and later died.

The Palestinian health ministry said 13 Palestinians were injured in the clashes, one of them seriously.

An AFP photographer said Israeli forces surrounded a suspect’s home, besieging two men inside and firing anti-tank grenades at the house in an attempt to track him down.

Tension was already skyrocketing after a wave of anti-Israel attacks that have killed at least 18 people since March 22, including an Arab-Israeli police officer and two Ukrainians.

A total of 31 Palestinians and three Israeli Arabs died in the same period, according to an AFP tally, including attackers and those killed by Israeli security forces in operations in the West Bank.