Israel Police is launching an investigation into the violent clashes at the funeral of Al-Jazeera reporter Shereen Abu-Akleh on Friday, during which the casket almost fell to the ground. The clashes drew international condemnation.
Following the funeral attended by thousands of Arabs, Israel Police issued a statement saying that they coordinated plans for the funeral together with Abu Akleh’s family and were forced to intervene when hundreds of rioters forcefully grabbed the casket and took it on an unplanned march through the cemetery, against the wishes of the family. Hundreds of Arabs also threw rocks, glass bottles, and other objects at the police.
“On Friday, about 300 rioters arrived at Saint Joseph hospital in Jerusalem and prevented the family members from loading the coffin onto the hearse to travel to the cemetery – as had been planned and coordinated with the family in advance,” the police stated. “Instead, the mob threatened the driver of the hearse and then proceeded to carry the coffin on an unplanned procession to the cemetery by foot.”
“This went against the wishes of the Abu-Akleh family and the security coordinations that had been planned to safeguard the large number of mourners. Israel Police instructed that the coffin be returned to the hearse, as did the EU ambassador and Shireen Abu-Akleh’s own family, but the mob refused.”
“Israeli Police intervened to disperse the mob and prevent them from taking the coffin in order that the funeral could proceed as planned in accordance with the wishes of the family.”
“During the riot that was instigated by the mob, glass bottles and other objects were thrown, resulting in the injury of both mourners and police officers.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration quickly condemned Israel.
“We were deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated.” Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the UN, stated: “Deeply distressed by the images from Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral procession. The tragedy of her killing should be handled with the utmost respect, sobriety, and care.”
This is a new low… We’ve seen Palestinian extremists like Hamas use women and children as human shields, but today they used the dead body of #ShireenAbuAkleh as a human shield as rioters destroyed neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
— Bassem Eid (@realbassemeid) May 13, 2022
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)