US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Israeli police for clashing with Palestinian mourners at the funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Video footage saw Israeli police beating mourners with batons as they tried to carry Abu Akleh’s coffin during a procession. Israeli authorities have targeted mourners because they didn’t want them to walk with Abu Akleh’s coffin, Arab media outlet Al Jazeera has suggested.
“We were deeply disturbed by the images of Israeli police entering the funeral procession of Palestinian American woman Shireen Abu Akleh,” Blinken said. “Every family deserves a dignified and unhindered funeral for their loved ones.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the videos of the funeral procession very disturbing.
“We all saw these pictures,” Psaki said. “They are obviously deeply disturbing. This is a day for all of us, including everyone present, to mark the memory of a remarkable journalist who lost her life.”
Abu Akleh was fatally shot Wednesday while covering a raid on the West Bank city of Jenin. Al Jazeera claims the shots came from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
“In a flagrant assassination in violation of international laws and norms, the Israeli occupying forces murdered in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine,” Al Jazeera claimed in a statement.
The Israeli military released an initial report saying Abu Akleh’s death occurred in one of two scenarios – indiscriminate Palestinian fire or possible misguided IDF sniper fire. The Times of Israel reported.
Abu Akleh and other journalists in the West Bank wore protective clothing that “clearly identified them as members of the media,” according to the United Nations.
On Wednesday, the White House called for an “immediate and thorough investigation and full accountability” into her death.
“Investigating attacks on independent media and prosecuting those responsible is of paramount importance,” Psaki said.
Many other world leaders have condemned the Israeli disruption of Abu Akleh’s funeral. The UN also released a statement condemning the killing of the prominent Al Jazeera journalist.
“Authorities have an obligation under international humanitarian law and international human rights law not to harm journalists and to protect them from harm,” the UN said. “The assassination of Abu Akleh, who was clearly fulfilling her duties as a journalist, could constitute a war crime.”
Abu Akleh’s death underscores the ongoing tensions between Israel and Palestine.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rooted in political, territorial and religious disagreements, has raged for more than 70 years. In 1947, the UN passed the Partition Plan, which, according to Global Conflict Tracker, was supposed to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. The following year, the State of Israel was established, sparking the First Arab-Israeli War. Bloodshed over territorial control of several religious sites continued.
news week has asked the Israeli government for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/blinken-condemns-israeli-violence-funeral-palestinian-journalist-1706635 Blinken condemns Israeli violence at the funeral of a Palestinian journalist