The violence of the images shocked the international community. Several international officials denounced the intervention of the Israeli police Friday, May 13 at the funeral, in Jerusalem, of Shireen Abu Akleh, the coffin of the Palestinian journalist having almost fallen to the ground after the truncheons against the carriers.
Israeli police announced on Saturday that they would open an investigation. “The Israel Police Commissioner, in coordination with the Minister of Public Security, has ordered an investigation into the incident. The findings of the investigation will be presented to the commissioner in the coming days.”police said in a statement.
Thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of the American-Palestinian Al-Jazeera journalist on Friday, convinced that she was killed by Israeli army fire during a raid in Jenin (northern West Bank) on 11 may. While she was wearing a bulletproof vest with the logo ” hurry “ and a helmet to cover an Israeli military raid in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, she was killed by a bullet in the head.
At the exit of the coffin from Saint Joseph’s Hospital in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector of the city also occupied by Israel, the Israeli police burst into the grounds of the establishment and charged the crowd waving Palestinian flags. The police charged those who had gathered in the courtyard of the hospital, pushed against a wall the men who had seized the coffin and who were advancing towards the gates, towards the street. The police then attacked two of the porters. One of them received at least ten truncheon blows in the ribs and on the shoulder, a kick in the buttocks, and ended up collapsing. The coffin tipped over, live in front of the cameras, but without falling.
Fourteen people were injured, three of whom were hit in the head by rubber-rimmed metal bullets. They all returned home at the end of the day.
“We were deeply disturbed by the images of the Israeli police intrusion into the funeral procession”said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The European Union has condemned “the disproportionate use of force and the disrespectful behavior of the Israeli police against the participants in the funeral procession”according to its head of diplomacy, Josep Borrell.
“Appalled by the violence within the grounds of St. Joseph’s Hospital and by the unnecessary level of force exerted by Israeli police throughout the funeral procession”had tweeted, a little earlier, the EU delegation to the Palestinians, according to which this “Such disproportionate behavior only fuels tensions”.
Dismay at police brutality at Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral at St Joseph’s Hospital, established… https://t.co/6u8pNEj2D2
The French representation in Jerusalem judged “deeply shocking” the “police brutality” at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said “deeply troubled”. In a statement, the Qatari foreign ministry said that “The occupying forces did not just kill Shireen (…)but they terrorized those who accompanied her to her final resting place..
The Israeli police charge is a painful reminder of the dark hours of apartheid in South Africa, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Legacy Foundation also denounced in a statement on Saturday. These scenes, where we see the Israeli security forces clubbing the coffin bearers, “send chills, reminiscent of the brutality inflicted on mourners at funerals of anti-apartheid activists”said Mamphela Ramphele, president of the foundation, regretting “violence, feelings of hatred and contempt for human dignity” displayed.
“As Archbishop Tutu taught us”Nobel Peace Prize, died in December 2021 at the age of 90 after a life devoted to the fight against the racist regime and then to the necessary reconciliation of South Africans, “perpetrators of violence and human rights abuses may think they are advancing their goals, but in fact they are undermining their own humanity and integrity”. “Violence begets violence and hate, which beget more violence and hate”Tutu pleaded with the Israelis in a column published by the newspaper Ha’aretz in 2014, recalls the text.
Condemnation of the murder at the UN
“If you don’t stop these nationalist chants, we will have to disperse you using force and we will prevent the funeral from taking place”said in a megaphone an Israeli policeman in the direction of the crowd in the compound of the Saint-Joseph hospital, according to a video released by the police.
According to a police statement, “rioters prevented family members from loading the coffin into a hearse to proceed to the cemetery, as agreed with the family (…). The crowd refused to put the casket back in the hearse and the police intervened to prevent them from taking it. During the riot triggered by the crowd, glass bottles and other objects were thrown”. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported thirty-three injuries, and the Israeli police six arrests.
After the intervention of the police, the crowd accompanied the coffin to a church in the Old City where a mass was pronounced, before going to the cemetery.
The journalist’s death prompted a unanimous statement from the UN Security Council, which “strongly condemned”. Encouraged by the United States, this very rare unanimous position of the Security Council on a subject concerning Israel also demands “an immediate, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation”.
Origin of the shot
The Palestinian Authority, Al-Jazeera and the government of Qatar accused the Israeli army of killing the 51-year-old journalist. Israel, after claiming that she had ” most likely “ succumbed to Palestinian fire, then said he did not rule out that the bullet was fired by his soldiers.
According to a statement from the Palestinian prosecutor’s office in Ramallah, West Bank, on Friday, “the first results of the investigation showed that the only origin of the shooting against Shireen was the occupying forces” Israelis. Before him, the Israeli army had let it be known that it was not possible to immediately determine the origin of the shooting, which could as well have been Palestinian or Israeli.
The Israeli authorities demand that the bullet be handed over to them in order to carry out a ballistic examination. They proposed that Palestinian and American experts be present during the review, but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused a joint investigation with Israel: “The Israeli authorities committed this crime and we do not trust them”did he declare.
The funeral took place amid further clashes in and around Jenin during army operations. An Israeli policeman was killed by Palestinian fighters and thirteen Palestinians were injured. The Israeli army has launched several operations to apprehend, according to it, Palestinians wanted in the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of the Palestinian armed factions from which the perpetrators of deadly attacks in recent months in Israel originated.