The UN has expressed dismay at the alleged violence by Israeli security forces on those attending the funeral of a slain reporter. “We just saw the video of it and it’s just very shocking to us,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York on Friday.
Images circulating on the internet and broadcast by TV stations appeared to show Israeli security forces beating people carrying the coffin. Footage from Palestine TV shows the coffin nearly falling as police dispersed people and grabbed Palestinian flags to confiscate them. Israel bans the public display of Palestinian flags.
The Israeli police, on the other hand, spoke in their account of hundreds of violent demonstrators who, among other things, caused unrest by throwing stones. Appropriate pictures should prove this interpretation.
The USA has also criticized the violent scenes. President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki spoke of “deeply disturbing” images on Friday. “We regret the disruption of what should have been a peaceful procession.”
The EU was also “horrified” on Twitter at the “unnecessary violence” of the police officers. And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “deeply concerned” by the images from Jerusalem. “Every family has the right to lay their loved ones to rest with dignity and freedom.”
The Shirin Abu Akleh from the TV channel Al-Jazeera, who was shot dead in the West Bank on Wednesday, was buried on Friday in a Christian-Orthodox cemetery next to the Old City of Jerusalem. Al-Jazeera has accused Israeli security forces of deliberately killing the 51-year-old. The death has not yet been officially clarified. Israel and the Palestinians blamed each other for the death of the journalist, who also held US citizenship. Abu Akleh, a Palestinian Christian, was held in high esteem by the population.
According to an interim report on the investigation released by the Israeli army, “it is not possible to determine the origin of the shot.” Abu Akleh died either from Palestinian scattered fire or from an Israeli sniper targeting Palestinian militants. Israel is demanding a joint investigation and the release of the deadly bullet for a forensic examination. The Palestinian Authority, however, rejects this.
Bloody clashes broke out again in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, killing an Israeli police officer and injuring 13 Palestinians.
According to the Red Crescent rescue service in Jerusalem, 33 people were injured at Shirin Abu Akleh’s funeral service. Six of them had to be treated in hospital.
The body of Abu Akleh was taken to the cemetery on Mount Zion after a short funeral service in a church. Thousands of Palestinians tried to follow the coffin to the cemetery outside the city walls.
The police did not intervene when Palestinian flags were waved again during the funeral procession, AFP reporters reported. A tense calm reigned in the Old City of Jerusalem after the burial.