The United States on Saturday condemned the Israeli security forces for ‘intruding’ into the funeral procession of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed on May 10 while covering an Israeli raid in the city of Jenin, West Bank. “We are deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh. Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner,” secretary of state Antony Blinken posted on Twitter.
The US top diplomat’s tweet came after visuals of the Israeli riot police, lunging at mourners during Friday’s funeral procession, in Jerusalem, went viral. Visuals showed that even people carrying the slain journalist’s casket were attacked. Also, several mourners, who were carrying the Palestinian flag, saw the flag being ripped from their hands by the police.
“This proves that Shireen’s reports and honest words had a powerful impact,” the deceased 51-year-old brother, Tony, told Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Israel’s actions drew widespread condemnation, including from US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, both of whom have been openly critical of the Joe Biden administration for its ‘silence’ over the journalist’s killing, which both Al Jazeera and witnesses blame on Israel, a key Washington ally.
“This is sickening. Violent racism, enabled by $3.8 billion unconditional military U.S. funds. For the Israeli apartheid govt, Shireen’s life didn’t matter – and her dehumanization continues after death. @StetDept: condemn this horror or does being Palestinian makes you less American?” Tlaib tweeted.
“This is just cruel,” wrote Ilhan Omar.
Israel, on the other hand, denies it was responsible for Shireen Abu Akleh’s death. “According to the information that we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians – who were firing indiscriminately at the time – were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist,” said prime minister Naftali Bennett.