US lawmakers blast Israel for police actions at Abu Aqleh's funeral

i24NEWS

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Israeli police confront mourners at the funeral of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2022.
AP Photo/Mahmoud IlleanIsraeli police confront mourners at the funeral of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2022.

'Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner'

The Biden administration on Friday harshly criticized Israel over police violence at the funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh – a Palestinian and US citizen – who was killed earlier this week during an Israeli operation in the West Bank.

Footage of the Jerusalem funeral procession showed Israeli forces using crowd control measures on Palestinian mourners in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, with some Israeli police striking those carrying the late Al Jazeera reporter’s coffin.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was “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,” he added.

Blinken’s criticism came shortly after US President Joe Biden said while he didn’t know all of the details, that “it has to be investigated.”

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who described the images as “deeply disturbing,” said the US is in close contact with Israeli and Palestinian authorities, working to bridge cooperation between the two sides.

Senator Chris Murphy, who chairs the Senate subcommittee dealing with the Middle East, tweeted: “I haven’t heard any credible explanation why this level of force was used on these mourners. What happened is unacceptable.”

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Further rebuke came from US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren among others.

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On Friday, hundreds of people gathered for Abu Akleh’s funeral, with many of them flying Palestinian flags and chanting what Israeli authorities described as “nationalistic incitement calls,” according to Haaretz.

Israeli police said that they were “forced to act” after rioters began to throw stones, resulting in 10 Palestinians requiring medical assistance.

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