Israeli forces attacked the crowd of mourners carrying the casket of Shireen Abu Akleh, forcing them to drop the corpse.
On this Friday and during the funeral of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, the Israeli forces violently surged through the crowd of mourners carrying her casket.
At least 13 people were injured when Israeli police moved in on the crowd in front of the French Hospital in Jerusalem, beating demonstrators with batons and forcing pallbearers to drop the coffin.
It was one of several spasms of tension during a fraught afternoon, as riot police in several locations in East Jerusalem faced off against crowds of mourners
The scene was in fact so shockingly violent that it was immediately met with international condemnation; Some EU diplomats, for example, rebuked the violent surge and described it as “unnecessary”, adding that it only fueled further tension;
“Today, EU and like-minded partners attended the funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh in occupied East Jerusalem,” the European Union Delegation to the Palestinians said in a tweet Friday, further nothing that “appalled by the violence in the St Joseph Hospital compound and the level of unnecessary force exercised by Israeli police throughout the funeral procession.”
The White House also condemned the move by the Israeli police; “The scene was deeply disturbing. We regret the intrusion into what should have been a peaceful procession.” press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday evening.
In addition, the U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American serving in the House of Representatives, wrote on Twitter that the attack was only proof that the “dehumanization of Ms. Abu Akleh, continues after death.”
She also called on the U.S. State Department to not be indifferent and condemn the Israeli police response.
The Israeli police then responded to the critics by issuing a statement, saying that they “took enforcement action after some mourners began chanting nationalist incitement and after officers had given the crowd a warning.” As the coffin was carried out of the hospital, police said, they were “forced to act” because “rioters began throwing stones toward the policemen.”
Israel’s response to the critics
The irony is that the Israel police also explained that the reason they attacked the crowed was that the crowed threw “an empty plastic bottle and two other bottle-shaped objects in the direction of the officers.” Only moments later, the police forces advanced on the pallbearers, beating them with batons.
The 51-year-old Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by an Israeli soldier. The tragedy happened this past Wednesday in the occupied West Bank and during an Israeli raid on the city of Jenin.
To shift the blame, the Israeli Army issued a statement this Friday, asserting: “while it was possible that Ms. Abu Akleh was mistakenly killed by Israeli fire, our initial investigation suggests that she might also have been hit by a Palestinian gunman.”
The Israeli police even put restrictions on how Abo Akleh’s funeral should be held. A day earlier on Thursday, they warned the dead’s family that any form of displaying “flags and slogans” at the funeral must be prohibited.
To show the highest level of respect, however, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas described Abu Akleh as a “martyr for truth and for the free world.” Abbas also awarded her the Star of Jerusalem, also known as the Quds Star.
This medal is one of the highest honors in Palestine. Also good to mention that the Star is traditionally awarded only to ministers, ambassadors, and members of Parliament.