H: A funeral procession for Shireen Abu Akleh, the US-Palestinian journalist killed by Israeli soldiers this week in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, was overshadowed by shocking displays of Israeli police violence on Friday.
Mourners bringing Abu Akleh’s coffin through Jerusalem’s Old City into the gates of St. Joseph’s Hospital were charged by Israeli police. Police surged into the gathering, kicking and beating pallbearers with batons and detaining a wanted member of the Islamic Jihad militant group and destroyed his home.
When the party carrying the coffin was shoved back into a wall, they almost dropped it, but recovered just in time as stun grenades burst all around them. In an attempt to prevent mourners from raising Palestinian flags, police used tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.
To prevent chanting mourners from raising Palestinian flags in the ancient city, police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets. An Israeli commander threatened that if the chants continued, the hospital would be assaulted within minutes. The burial was subject to tight conditions, including a ban on chanting and the hoisting of flags.
The raid came after tensions between Israeli police and mourners at the funeral of veteran Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in East Jerusalem, injuring at least 13 people.
The scenes were “extremely upsetting,” according to UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq, and US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she was “very saddened by the images.” “We have all seen those photographs, and they’re obviously profoundly troubling,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
While covering a military incursion in the occupied West Bank earlier this week, Abu Akleh was shot and murdered. Her death has been blamed on Israeli shooting by the Palestinian Authority.
The Israeli military had previously stated that a violent firefight was taking place around 200 meters from where Abu Akleh died, but that it was hard to determine whether she was killed by Israeli soldiers or Palestinian terrorists.
Israel has demanded a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority, as well as the delivery of the bullet for forensic study to ascertain who fired the fatal round.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected, claiming that it will conduct its own investigation and report the findings to the International Criminal Court, which is already looking into suspected Israeli war crimes.
The US government has also pushed the Palestinian Authority to cooperate with Israel in the investigation, but the authority has refused.
An Israeli soldier died of wounds sustained during the raid in Jenin on Friday.
Early on Friday, a significant number of Israeli troops invaded the Jenin camp, prompting gun battles with Palestinian fighters.
The house of the sought individual, Mahmoud Al-Daba’i of the Islamic Jihad militant group, was blown up by Israeli forces. Four further civilian residences were shelled.
The wanted man’s father, Mohammed Al-Daba’i, acknowledged that his son had been apprehended after their homes were raided.
The Palestinian presidency’s spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, described the attack on Jenin as “a continuation of Israel’s ongoing war against our people, coinciding with the current settlement policy in all Palestinian territories, which creates more tension and escalation for which Israel bears full responsibility.”
He predicted that developments in Jerusalem and the remainder of the Palestinian territory will “drive everything toward a massive explosion that would be impossible to control.”
Abu Rudeineh urged the US to put an end to Israeli attacks that are “driving the situation to a point of no return.”
According to Ghassan Al-Khatib, a Palestinian political analyst, Abu Akleh’s burial exposed the world to the sorrow and daily suffering of Palestinians at the hands of occupation troops via a live broadcast.
“For the first time, the world was informed live of the Israeli occupation forces’ cruel and unlawful attacks on Palestinians. Even a deceased Christian civilian with American citizenship was subjected to this kind of savagery.”
Abu Akleh’s close friend, prominent Palestinian journalist Mohammed Daraghmeh, told Arab News that the funeral had restored Jerusalem’s Palestinian character.
“Raising Palestinian flags in Jerusalem is illegal, but the flags were raised, and a sea of people wept as they said her farewell on her final voyage.” Even though she was Christian, churches of many denominations rang bells and Muslims offered prayers for her.”
“The Palestinians thought that Israeli bullets targeting Abu Akleh amounted to an attack on their voice, therefore they went out to show their outrage over this crime,” Daraghmeh continued.