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Israeli police to investigate ‘events’ over Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral: Minister

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“Unfortunately, during the course of the funeral, serious violent incidents were unveiled by the participants which worsened the situation on the ground,” Israeli Public Safety Minister Omer Bar-Lev said in a statement to CNN.

“The investigative team appointed by Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and led by Brigadier General Anna Ben Mordechai – an experienced commander who is familiar with the area where the funeral took place – will conduct a comprehensive investigation into what happened “During the funeral the next day to learn lessons from the event. These lessons will be presented to the police commissariat and then to me,” he added.

Israeli police were criticized after Friday’s procession, in which television footage showed officers hitting mourners with batons, forcibly lowering Palestinian flags and arresting individuals holding the flag. A video released by Israeli police shows officers tearing down Palestinian flags from a buried car holding Abu Akleh’s coffin.

The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ruled in September 2021 that waving the Palestinian flag is not a criminal offense in Israel. However, CNN witnessed the arrest of at least two individuals holding a flag during the Abu Akleh procession.

“Flying the Palestinian flag is not a violation of Israeli law,” Israeli Knesset member Ahmad Tibi told CNN on Friday.

“When Omar Bar-Lev was appointed Israeli Minister of Public Security, he issued a directive restricting the confiscation of Palestinian flags by demonstrators in cases where there is an immediate risk of disturbing the peace. But what the police are doing is directly opposing the orders. “What we see is the phobia of the flag against the Palestinian flag,” he added.

When asked by CNN to explain the reason for the fall of the Palestinian flags and the arrest of the individuals holding the flag, the Israeli police forces responded with a statement, which was also publicly shared on its Twitter account.

Thousands mourn slain Shireen journalist Abu Akleh as Palestinians call for accountability

“Israeli police prepared yesterday to facilitate a peaceful and dignified funeral for journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and coordinated the organization of the funeral with her family. Unfortunately, hundreds of protesters tried to sabotage the ceremony and harm the police,” the statement said. .

“Israeli police support its police officers, but as a professional organization seeking to learn and improve, it will also draw lessons from the incident,” she added.

On Friday, mourners took Abu Akleh’s coffin from St. Joseph Hospital in East Jerusalem, where her body remained until burial, but met strong resistance from Israeli police, who forced them to transport the body by car. According to CNN reporters, a flash bomb and tear gas were thrown.

The 51-year-old Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist was a prominent voice throughout the Arab world, delivering what many said was the “voice of Palestinian suffering” and “their aspirations for freedom.”

Shireen Abu Akleh's granddaughter, Lareen, 19, at her aunt's funeral procession in Jerusalem.  Her poster reads: "Shireen Abu Akleh, an icon of journalism and free speech".  Lareen is an aspiring journalist.

“She made a huge impact on Palestine and all the people. She left her fingerprints on everyone’s heart,” Lareen Abu Akleh, Shireen’s granddaughter, told CNN.

Nafisa Khwais, a Palestinian woman who considered herself a mother figure for Shireen, told CNN that she had spent the whole night at the funeral home where people came to mourn for the veteran journalist.

“Shireen is my daughter. Her parents died, but we are all her parents. We are all her family,” Khwais said.

“Two weeks ago, she hid behind my back when clashes broke out at the gate of Damascus, and said to me, ‘Mother, come here. “I’m very worried about you” and he gave me a bottle of water. I loved Shire. She was the voice of all Palestinians, “she said.

Nafisa Khwais, 63, sits outside Shireen Abu Akleh's house in Ramallah, where mourners have gathered.

Friday’s events sparked global reactions from various officials who said they were “shocked” by what they had seen.

“We were deeply concerned by images of Israeli police interfering in the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh. Every family deserves to receive their loved ones in a dignified and unhindered manner,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. a. post on Twitter on Friday.

A senior State Department official later said Blinken had spoken to the journalist’s family and expressed his condolences on the way to an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, Germany.

Blinken offered “his deepest condolences for their loss,” the official said. Blinken also offered the ongoing support of the State Department team in Jerusalem to their family and noted the importance of a free and independent press, the official said.

Norwegian Ambassador to Israel Kre R. Aas said in a Twitter post that he was “shocked by the violent behavior of Israeli police forces during the funeral procession” adding that “such a disproportionate force is inappropriate and unacceptable. “.

Sources

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2/ https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/14/middleeast/israeli-police-to-investigate-funeral-palestinian-journalist-shireen-abu-akleh-intl/index.html

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