Funeral services in Jerusalem on Friday drew thousands of people from around the Arab world to a highly respected journalist for decades. The procession under the Palestinian flag and shouting slogans was one of the largest gatherings in Jerusalem in recent memory and an unusually public display of Palestinian national sentiment, participants said.
At the beginning of the funeral, Israeli riot police attacked a group of mourners while trying to take the coffin from a hospital in East Jerusalem to a church in Old City. Police fired stun grenades and used batons to kill mourners and coffin-bearers, who at one point almost fell to the ground.
Massive crowds at journalist’s funeral in Jerusalem, police beaten
Esau Frace, a Palestinian-Israeli member of the left-wing Meretz Party’s Knesset, said officers had “enthusiastically” hoisted Palestinian flags despite instructions from the Interior Ministry not to do so. In a tweet on Friday, he said Israeli police had “disrespected Abu Akleh’s memory and funeral”.
Israeli police initially said they had taken action in response to a public order threat. They said they coordinated with the family to transport the coffin through the hares and claimed that the procession was overtaken by a mob of rioters who insisted on carrying it on foot.
Israeli police told reporters on Friday that “we will not allow the funeral to serve as a cover and sponsor for violent disturbances.” It shared a video that said the funeral participants were shown “throwing objects.”
The journalists of the Washington Post who participated in the funeral did not see any evidence that the mourners were threatening the police or throwing objects towards them, the police charged the gathering in addition to a bottle of water or two plastic water.
Abu Akleh’s brother, Anton Abu Akleh, told AFP that there was “no agreement” between his family and the police on funeral arrangements. The agency quoted him as saying, “We gave them the number of participants and the funeral procession and that’s what happened.”
On Saturday, police said they were “watching the events” during the funeral but insisted his officers had been attacked.
Footage of the beatings met with outrage from Palestinians, condemnation of some foreign governments and sharp criticism from some in Israel, where politicians, rights advocates and some police officers denied what they said was an irresponsible response to a nonviolent incident. By worldwide viewers.
“Even if the Palestinian flag is waved, some anti-Israel slogans are chanted and some stones are thrown,” the police should have shown a more cautious verdict, an unnamed Israeli police official told Israel’s Channel 12 News on Saturday.
Funeral footage “shows a tragic display of endless brutality and violence,” Oded Shalom wrote in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronno.
White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie called the funeral photos “deeply disturbing.” The European Union delegation to the Palestinians said it was “terrified”. Ripa, a Palestinian-American member of Congress. Rashida Talaib (D) said in a message posted on Twitter that it was “violent racism, enabled by $ 3.8 billion unconditional military US funding”.
President Biden, when asked about the conduct of the funeral, said, “I do not know all the details, but I know it should be investigated.”
On Saturday, Police Commissioner Kobe Shabtai and Public Safety Minister Omar Barlev ordered an investigation into possible misconduct, saying the results would be presented to officials in the coming days.
On Sunday, Israeli security forces were on high alert and reinforced troops ahead of Palestinian “Nakba Day,” which commemorates the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have fled or been expelled as a result of Israel’s establishment. In 1948.
Hamas has called on Palestinians to climb the Nobel Sanctuary for Muslims and the holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount – where violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces erupted before the start of the 11-day war in Gaza last May.
The Israeli military has changed its response to Abu Akleh’s death, saying at first that he may have been hit by a bullet fired by Palestinian gunmen and later investigating whether it was a fatal shot fired by an Israeli soldier.
American journalist killed by IDF, network says; Israel has called for an investigation
The military says it is looking into two possible scenarios: whether he was shot by a Palestinian gunman in an Israeli military vehicle, or by an Israeli soldier who fired shots from an armored vehicle in response to Palestinian gunfire. A press release issued on Friday said that Israeli military vehicles were stationed at a distance of 200 meters from Abu Akleh.
The Palestinian public prosecutor, in a statement announcing his preliminary results, opposed the Israeli claim that Abu Akleh had caught fire between Israelis and Palestinians. It said Israeli troops fired the only shots at Abu Akleh when he was killed, with the nearest Israeli army about 150 meters away. It added that Israeli troops opened fire on where he was standing, “disrupting efforts to provide first aid to colleagues and civilians.”
The Palestinian Authority has rejected Israel’s request for a joint investigation, saying it would conduct its own investigation and refused to hand over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh to Israeli authorities.
Abu Akleh’s assassination comes amid a week of violence that has seen Palestinian militants, many from the area around Jenin, carry out deadly attacks in Israel, killing at least 19 people. The Israeli military has stepped up operations in the West Bank, killing at least 30 Palestinians, according to local reports.
Steve Hendrix of Jerusalem contributed to this report.