APTOPIX Israel Palestinians Journalist Killed
Israeli police confront with mourners as they carry the casket of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in east Jerusalem, Friday, May 13, 2022. Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American reporter who covered the Mideast conflict for more than 25 years, was shot dead Wednesday during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. (AP Photo/Maya Levin)
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Israeli police beat pallbearers at Al Jazeera journalist's funeral

26 Comments
By JOSEF FEDERMAN

Israeli riot police on Friday pushed and beat pallbearers at the funeral for slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, causing them to briefly drop the casket in a shocking start to a procession that turned into perhaps the largest display of Palestinian nationalism in Jerusalem in a generation.

The scenes of violence were likely to add to the sense of grief and outrage across the Arab world that has followed the death of Abu Akleh, who witnesses say was killed by Israeli troops Wednesday during a raid in the occupied West Bank. They also illustrated the deep sensitivities over east Jerusalem -- which is claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians and has sparked repeated rounds of violence.

Abu Akleh, 51, was a household name across the Arab world, synonymous with Al Jazeera’s coverage of life under Israeli rule, which is well into its sixth decade with no end in sight. A 25-year veteran of the satellite channel, she was revered by Palestinians as a local hero.

Thousands of people, many waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine! Palestine!” attended the funeral. It was believed to be the largest Palestinian funeral in Jerusalem since Faisal Husseini, a Palestinian leader and scion of a prominent family, died in 2001.

Ahead of the burial, a large crowd gathered to escort her casket from an east Jerusalem hospital to a Catholic church in the nearby Old City. Many of the mourners held Palestinian flags, and the crowd began shouting, “We sacrifice our soul and blood for you, Shireen.”

Shortly after, Israel police moved in, pushing and clubbing mourners. As the helmeted riot police approached, they hit pallbearers, causing one man to lose control of the casket as it dropped toward the ground. Police ripped Palestinian flags out of people's hands and fired stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

Abu Akleh's brother, Tony, said the scenes “prove that Shireen's reports and honest words ... had a powerful impact.”

Al Jazeera correspondent Givara Budeiri said the police crackdown was like killing Abu Akleh again. “It seems her voice isn't silent,” she said during a report by the broadcaster.

East Jerusalem, home to the city’s most important Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, was captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. It claims all of the city as its eternal capital and has annexed the eastern sector in a move that is not internationally recognized.

The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state. Israel routinely clamps down on any displays of support for Palestinian statehood. The conflicting claims to east Jerusalem often spill over into violence, helping fuel an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza militants last year and more recently sparking weeks of unrest at the city’s most sensitive holy site.

Outside of prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque, Israel rarely allows large Palestinian gatherings in east Jerusalem and routinely clamps down on any displays of support for Palestinian statehood.

Police said the crowd at the hospital was chanting “nationalist incitement,” ignored calls to stop and threw stones at them. “The policemen were forced to act,” police said. They issued a video in which a commander outside the hospital warns the crowd that police will come in if they don’t stop their incitement and “nationalist songs.”

An Israeli official said the details of the funeral had been coordinated with the family ahead of time to ensure it would run smoothly, but that “masses began gathering around the hearse of Shireen Abu Akleh and chaos ensued,” preventing the procession from going along its intended route. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Earlier this week, Abu Akleh’s brother said the original arrangement was to move the casket in a hearse from the hospital to the church, and that after the service, it would be carried through the streets to the cemetery. It was not immediately clear why those plans had changed and pallbearers emerged from the hospital carrying the casket.

Al Jazeera said in a statement that the police action “violates all international norms and rights."

"Israeli occupation forces attacked those mourning the late Shireen Abu Akhleh after storming the French hospital in Jerusalem, where they severely beat the pallbearers,” it said. The network added that it remains committed to covering the news and will not be deterred.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the images "deeply disturbing.”

The focus should be “marking the memory of a remarkable journalist who lost her life,” Psaki said. “We regret the intrusion into what should have been a peaceful procession.”

Israeli police later escorted the casket in a black van, ripping Palestinian flags off the vehicle as it made its way to the church.

“We die for Palestine to live!” crowds chanted. “Our beloved home!”

Later, they sang the Palestinian national anthem and chanted “Palestine, Palestine!” before her body was buried in a cemetery outside the Old City.

Her grave was decorated with a Palestinian flag and flowers. The Palestinian ambassador to the U.K., Husam Zomlot, and Al Jazeera's bureau chief, Walid Al-Omari, placed flowers on the grave.

Salah Zuheika, a 70-year-old Palestinian, called Abu Akleh “the daughter of Jerusalem,” and said the huge crowds were a “reward” for her love of the city.

“We already miss her, but what had happened today in the city will not be forgotten,” he said.

Abu Akleh was a member of the small Palestinian Christian community in the Holy Land. Palestinian Christians and Muslims marched alongside one another Friday in a show of unity.

She was shot in the head during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. But the circumstances of the shooting remain in dispute.

The Palestinians say army fire killed her, while the Israeli military said Friday that she was killed during an exchange with fire with Palestinian militants. It said it could not determine who was responsible for her death without a ballistic analysis.

“The conclusion of the interim investigation is that it is not possible to determine the source of the fire that hit and killed the reporter,” the military said.

Israel has called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority and for it to hand over the bullet for forensic analysis to determine who fired the fatal round. The PA has refused, saying it will conduct its own investigation and send the results to the International Criminal Court, which is already investigating possible Israeli war crimes.

Reporters who were with Abu Akleh, including one who was shot and wounded, said there were no clashes or militants in the immediate area. All of them were wearing protective equipment that clearly identified them as reporters.

The PA and Al Jazeera, which has long had a strained relationship with Israel, have accused Israel of deliberately killing Abu Akleh. Israel denies the accusations.

Rights groups say Israel rarely follows through on investigations into the killing of Palestinians by its security forces and hands down lenient punishments on the rare occasions when it does. This case, however, drew heavy scrutiny because Abu Akleh was well-known and also a U.S. citizen.

Palestinians from in and around Jenin have carried out deadly attacks in Israel in recent weeks, and Israel has launched near daily arrest raids in the area, often igniting gunbattles with militants.

Israeli troops pushed into Jenin again early Friday, sparking renewed fighting.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 Palestinians were wounded. The Israeli military said that Palestinians opened fire when its forces went in to arrest suspected militants. Police said a 47-year-old member of a special Israeli commando unit was killed.

Associated Press reporters Majdi Mohammed in Jenin, West Bank, Fares Akram in Hamilton, Ontario, and Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


26 Comments

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They wonder why they reaping ,what they sowed

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Killing Israeli civilians are not reported as a violence .... But the media boost when Israel retaliate...

A kind of double standard ...

With out suffering an attack from Islamic terrorist Israeli never retaliate ..

-28 ( +7 / -35 )

Israel is wrong, in this instance.

They should have allowed the procession to continue and brought in more, heavily armed, police with riot gear, but held them back. If anything terrible happened, then bring in the army with heavier weapons. Emotions were high. That what happens at funerals.

As for the killing of the reporter, if the two sides don't work together, no answer is possible. The Palestinians have the bullet. The Israelis have the rifle. Hard to determine a match without both. Perhaps the answer is to get a 3rd party involved?

Reporters who were with Abu Akleh, including one who was shot and wounded, said there were no clashes or militants in the immediate area. All of them were wearing protective equipment that clearly identified them as reporters.

"immediate area" means different things. Any videos of the shot which could provide bullet trajectory information? A shot aimed at a militant may have missed and she could have been standing 20m behind the intended target. Or she could have been on a list for opportunistic killing. We'll never know.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Seems like a disrespectful and distasteful reaction to chants and songs! Had the police backed off let it proceed, surly a better outcome then global coverage of pallbearers being beaten, coffins being dropped. A little leeway might have been appreciated she was a reporter killed by Israeli after all.

22 ( +25 / -3 )

Israel is an aparteid state.

20 ( +27 / -7 )

Apartheid

14 ( +21 / -7 )

Nothing will happen. This is a genocidal apartheid state occupying and repressing/oppressing Palestine in action.

the have a “get out of jail free card”. A present from USA. Every single UNSC resolution is vetoed, they are not a members of the ICC. The number of American Jews in US politics and Govt is very high, you can google. Israel gets the most military aid of any country.

13 ( +21 / -8 )

Israeli police said they had stones thrown at them, WELL BACK OFF. And the police were wearing riot gear so a stone really shouldn’t be a problem sure they get more grief at home than with their job.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

"They issued a video in which a commander outside the hospital warns the crowd that police will come in if they don’t stop their incitement and “nationalist songs.”"

This weasally written article and author does everything possible to minimize the racially fascistic nature of the zionist regime in Palestine. A good example is "...helping fuel an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza militants last year..." where a 'war' means slaughter by heavily armed racist thugs of people trapped in a concrete walled, barbed wired Concentration Camp with few resources who simply want FREEDOM from pathological oppression and from what is exactly the U.N. definition of Genocide. There is NO QUESTION that the zionist military MURDERED in cold blood Ms Abu Akleh, even if it was some even crazier individual in their ranks whose hatred was greater than his discipline, this is NOT unusual for these rabid NAZIoid thugs we see in the news abusing and murdering men, women, children (ESPECIALLY teenage boys) , old people reported daily in the world's news however ignored by Western media. And this abuse of the native people of Palestine has been occurring since the earliest zionist communes in Palestine were established in the early 1900s and if one researches the behaviors of groups such as "The Stern Gang", "Likud", et alia, one will see the earliest examples of what, today, we call TERRORISM. A favorite behavior was a gasoline bomb into an open bedroom window in the middle of the night. Please, if you have any Humanity in your soul, on 15May, mourn the NAKBA as many who have come to understand the tragedy of Palestine will. And the greatest irony here is that what is purported to have happened to 'Jewish People' (there were NO zionists in the camps) in WWII is used as justification for what is being done to Palestinian People today.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

The Israelis are their own worst enemy. Israel could have handled this more deftly. This whole ideology that a Jew has the right to take an Arab's land and home because, well, he or she is Jewish and the other party is not, is to this property owner the most offensive aspect of Israeli policy and it is the root of all of the violence happening there. If Jews didn't believe they were entitled to lands held by Muslim and Christian Arabs and stopped taking their land and stop taking over their holy sites then there is a possibility their disputes could be resolved. Respect is earned and the Israelis are earning only scorn, at least from this land owner's perspective.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

DISGUSTING at the least, Israel armed forces are out of control and has been for a while. I am sure that Jews and Arabs alike will not stand for this brutal act. What threat did these present to be attacked by armed soldiers and police???

How low will Israel go!?

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Brutal Israeli leaders of an apartheid state. May God deliver the poor Palestinians from this situation.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

At some point Israel will come to realize that what ever actions of violence and brutality if inflects of it's own people and people under it's occupation will come back to hunt the state for a very long time, it has been and will continue for as long as Israel continues on this path.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The fact that you still see people defending why it is ok to hit the people carrying a coffin in a funeral, explains what's wrong with humanity nowadays. Israel knew this funeral was being broadcasted all over the world and yet they still did this. I bet it's much worse when no one is recording...

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Even in death, they won't let her rest in peace.

Israel is an apartheid state.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

This is what Apartheid looks like.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Shireen Abu Akhleh was shot in the face by a sniper, even though she was wearing her press jacket. Shireen Abu Akhleh was deliberately targeted. Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered. Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions now please.

https://bdsmovement.net/

16 ( +20 / -4 )

Sickening.

Israel is in many ways like Nazi Germany, targeting a minority on their own land. Even in death the Palestinians cannot rest.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

When I visited post Apartheid South Africa, it was considered important to visit the site where Sam Nzima took a photograph that both wasn't much different from too many other photos of the aftermath of the second last surviving Apartheid regime's oppressive violence, and was totally different from every other one of those photos because it was the moment when the doom of the regime was sealed.

I wonder if the site of this disgusting sight was captured will become a similar place of historical significance, or not.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Pushing and clubbing mourners and pallbearers how despicable.

And to know that Israel is a united nations member but Palestine isn't.

Despicable hate crimes aren't necessary and don't achieve anything

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Shameful and condemnanle. First Israel killed her in cold blood and now doing this to her funeral. And then they wonder why people hate Israel?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@marc laden, could you please enlighten us how many Israelis are killer which are not reported and how many Arabs being murdered by Israelis?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Russia: “Look at all the attention I’m getting for doing horrible things!”

Israel: “Hold my beer.”

Despicable thing to do.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Shame on Israel.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

My post at 11:41 should read

"EVERY Arab-Israeli has full voting rights and SEVERAL hold seats in the Knesset."

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

The picture says it all.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

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