Violence at journalist's funeral in the West Bank

Thousands of Palestinians said goodbye yesterday in Jerusalem to the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who died on Wednesday during an Israeli military operation in the West Bank, in a tense day after the Israeli police intervened at the beginning of the funeral procession, which caused scenes of violence criticized by the White House.

Several violent incidents broke out in Jerusalem when the Israeli police tried to disperse a crowd after the reporter’s coffin was released from the hospital. Footage broadcast by Palestine TV showed the coffin nearly falling to the ground as police officers dispersed people waving Palestinian flags.

“We have all seen these images, they are deeply disturbing,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We deplore the intrusion into what should have been a peaceful procession,” she added. For its part, the European Union declared itself “dismayed” by this “useless” use of force. According to the Palestinian Crescent, 33 people were injured during the funeral, of whom six had to be hospitalized.

After these incidents, the remains of the popular reporter for the Qatari network Al Jazeera, a 51-year-old Christian born in East Jerusalem, were taken to a church in Jerusalem, where a mass was said in her honor. The surrounding streets were full of people who came to say goodbye to the journalist. The crowd followed the coffin to a cemetery near the Old City, where the reporter was buried near her parents.

New clashes. Her funeral took place amid new clashes in the Jenin refugee camp, a bastion of armed Palestinian factions in the north of the West Bank, where the authors of recent deadly attacks in Israel come from, and where the journalist died.

The Israeli army has launched several operations there to allegedly arrest wanted Palestinians.

An Israeli policeman was killed yesterday in one such operation, in Burqin, near Jenin, according to an official statement. The Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the agent’s death.

In the Jenin camp, 13 Palestinians were wounded by gunshots in a new operation by the Israeli army, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The journalist, wearing a bulletproof vest marked “Press” and a helmet, was covering a military operation in that camp, in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

The origin of the deadly bullet gave rise to several hypotheses. Al Jazeera accused Israeli forces of “deliberately” and “in cold blood” killing its star journalist. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett suggested that he had “probably” been shot dead by Palestinian fighters.

But a few hours later, her defense minister, Benny Gantz, said the military “is not sure how she was killed. It may have been a Palestinian who shot him (…) The shot may also have come from our side, we are investigating,” he added.

“We need the forensic evidence” of the Palestinians, including the bullet that killed the journalist, to conduct a “full” investigation, Gantz added, adding that, so far, the Palestinian authorities have refused to cooperate.

Israel has asked the Palestinians for the bullet so that “a scientific investigation can be carried out to trace the origin of the shot,” an Israeli security source said. He also offered Palestinian and US officials to “be present” during the exam, according to the same source.

The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, has rejected the idea of ​​a joint investigation with Israel, accusing the Israeli army of killing her. “We hold the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for his death,” Abbas said during a ceremony on Thursday, explaining his refusal of a joint investigation by the fact that “the Israeli authorities committed this crime and we do not trust them.” .

He also said he wanted to refer the case to the International Criminal Court.

For his part, Bennett stated that, “regrettably, the Palestinian Authority is currently preventing any possibility of a joint investigation or even access to the basic conclusions that are necessary to reach the truth.”

The announcement of the death of Shireen Abu Akleh shocked the Palestinian population and the Arab world, which had followed her Al Jazeera reports for more than two decades, but also Europe and the United States.

Spontaneous protests broke out in several Palestinian territories, and a street in Ramallah was renamed after him.

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