Shirin Abu Akleh funeral: Bishops of the Holy Land attack Israel
The bishops of the Holy Land condemned “Israeli police attacks” during the funeral in Jerusalem of Palestinian journalist Shirin Abu Akleh, who was accused of “insulting” the church on Monday.
On Friday, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of an Al Jazeera TV journalist who was shot in the head on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank occupied by Israel since 1967. was given.
When the journalist’s coffin was released from St. Joseph’s Hospital in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian area of the city also held by Israel, police entered the establishment’s premises and waving Palestinian flags at a crowd, pelting Palestinians and pallbearers. accused of killing According to the footage that went viral on social media, the coffin almost fell to the ground.
On Monday, during a press conference at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, condemned “the Israeli police aggression and their disproportionate use of force”.
The police “attacked the mob, thrashed people with sticks, threw tear gas canisters and fired rubber bullets”, he alleged.
– No song, no flags –
He said Israeli forces had “disrespected the church, the health facility and the memory of the dead”.
The hospital belongs to the French Congregation of the Sisters of Saint-Joseph-de-l’Apparition, which has existed on this land for almost 200 years.
Announcing the launch of an investigation, police said officers were “motivated to use force in the face of rioters” amid a funeral procession.
He also alleged that the mob stopped the transportation of the coffin to a charioteer, “as agreed with the family”.
But the family of Shirin Abu Akleh, who also had US citizenship, dismissed this version of events.
His brother, Anton Abu Akleh, told the same press conference at the hospital that police had stopped him the day before the funeral to tell him that they would protest any “Palestinian (nationalist) songs or flags” during the procession. . Israel considers the entire city of Jerusalem to be its “eternal and indivisible” capital.
When the family reached the hospital on Friday, the police appeared ready to make charges, he said, adding that “roads were blocked and (riot police) deployed”.
The journalist’s niece, Lena Abu Akleh, said a policeman “threatened” her to “beat” her and that she had to hide inside the hospital when Israeli forces began throwing tear gas canisters.
Father Luc Paredt, adviser on religious affairs at the French Consulate General in Jerusalem, told AFP that they were taken aback by how “quiet and solemn” the procession was before police intervened.
– “Totally inappropriate” –
Jameel Kausa, director of the Saint-Joseph hospital, told AFP he had requested police on Friday to ensure that the procession be held peacefully.
Police then warned that the procession would be stopped if mourners sang the Palestinian national “anthem” or waved flags, he said.
During the police action, a doctor was injured due to a rubber bullet, he said. Israel’s response was “totally unfair”.
The crowd was then able to go with the coffin to a church in the old town where a mass celebration was held, then to the cemetery.
The killing of the 51-year-old journalist” was unanimously condemned by the UN Security Council, which called for “a transparent and fair investigation”.
The Palestinian Authority, Qatar’s Al Jazeera Television and the Qatari government accused the Israeli military of killing the journalist.
Israel, after claiming that it “probably” succumbed to Palestinian fire, then said it did not deny that the bullets were fired by its soldiers.
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