Israeli police announced on Saturday that they would open an investigation after the international outcry sparked by images showing the intervention of the police at the funeral in Jerusalem of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, whose coffin nearly fell to the ground.
Thousands of Palestinians attend the funeral of Palestinian-American Al-Jazeera TV reporter who was shot in the head on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, Palestinian Territory Palestinian occupied by Israel since 1967. She wore a bulletproof vest marked “press” and a reporter’s helmet.
As the coffin was released from St. Joseph’s Hospital in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector of the city also occupied by Israel, police burst into the facility and attempted to disperse a crowd waving Palestinian flags . The coffin almost fell from the hands of the bearers who were hit by police armed with batons but was caught in extremis, according to images broadcast on social networks and television.
The United States “deeply troubled”
“The Israel Police Commissioner, in coordination with the Minister of Public Security, has ordered an investigation into the incident. The findings will be presented to the commissioner in the coming days,” police said in a statement.
She repeated that the police “had been exposed to the violence of the rioters, which caused them to use force”.
Images of the police charge circulating on social media have caused an international outcry. “We were deeply disturbed by the footage of Israeli police intruding on the funeral procession,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
The European Union condemned “the disproportionate use of force and the disrespectful behavior of the Israeli police”. The French representation in Jerusalem judged “deeply shocking” the “police violence”, and Spain denounced as unacceptable the “disproportionate use of force”. UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply troubled”.
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For the Desmond Tutu Foundation, the scenes of the police intervention “shiver in the back, recalling the brutality inflicted on the mourners during the funerals of activists against apartheid” in South Africa.
“If you don’t stop these nationalist songs, we will have to disperse you using force and we will prevent the funeral from taking place,” an Israeli policeman said in a megaphone to the crowd at the compound. hospital on Friday, according to police video. She accused the crowd of Palestinians of having “thrown glass bottles and other objects” at the police.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported 33 injuries and the Israeli police reported six arrests. The crowd of Palestinians was then able to accompany the coffin to a church in the Old City where a mass was celebrated, then to the cemetery.
“The murder” of the 51-year-old journalist was unanimously condemned by the UN Security Council, which called for “a transparent and impartial investigation”.
Investigation into the origin of the murderous shooting
The Palestinian Authority, Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV and the Qatari government accused the Israeli army of killing the journalist. Israel, after claiming that she had “probably” succumbed to Palestinian fire, then said it did not rule out that the bullet was fired by its soldiers.
According to “the first results” of the investigation by the Palestinian prosecutor in Ramallah “the only origin of the shooting against Shireen is the occupying forces”.
Before him, the Israeli army indicated that it was not possible to immediately determine the origin of the shooting which could as well be of Palestinian origin as Israeli.
Israel demanded that the bullet be given to it for ballistic examination, and proposed that Palestinian and American experts be present during this examination. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused a joint investigation with Israel. “The Israeli authorities committed this crime and we do not trust them.”
On Saturday, Hussein al-Sheikh, a tenor from the Palestinian Authority, said on Twitter “welcome the participation of all international bodies in the investigation into the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh”.