The Israeli police will open an investigation into the actions of their agents during the funeral of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, after the international outrage that the images of violence aroused, it was announced this Saturday.
“The Israeli police commissioner, in coordination with the minister of public security, ordered an inquiry into the incident. The findings of the inquiry will be presented to the commissioner in the coming days,” the police announced in a statement published today, Jews.
In the statement, the police say that their “officers were exposed to the violence of the rioters”, who “tried to sabotage the ceremony and harm the police”, which led them “to use force”.
“The police support their agents”, but would like to “learn lessons from this incident”.
Thousands of Palestinians took part in the funeral services for Shireen Abu Akleh – a 51-year-old journalist with dual Palestinian and American nationality from the television station Al-Jazeera -, who died on Wednesday from a bullet in the head while covering a military raid. Israeli refugee camp in Jenin, West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
On Friday, as the funeral procession left St. Joseph, in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian sector of the city also occupied by Israel, police stormed the compound and tried to disperse the crowd, which was waving Palestinian flags.
The coffin with Akleh’s body almost fell from the hands of the men carrying it when they were hit by policemen armed with batons, according to images broadcast on television.
The images provoked a wave of criticism from the international community, namely the United States, the European Union and the UN Security Council.
During the day of Friday, the Israeli police presented several arguments to justify the violence of their forces, namely alleging nationalist chants, incitement to violence and the alleged throwing of stones, and later saying that removing the journalist’s body from the hospital in shoulders violated an agreement with the family to do so in a vehicle.
The violence took place at a time already tense due to the death of the journalist who, when she died, was wearing a bulletproof vest with the word “press” inscribed and a news report helmet.
Both the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Yazeera and several journalists who were with Akleh when she died accused Israeli troops of killing her.
The Israeli government, for its part, initially blamed Palestinian militiamen and later said that at the moment it was not possible to determine who fired the fatal shot.
Israel advocates carrying out a joint investigation with the ANP into the death, but the Palestinian authority rejects this proposal.