Israeli Cops Won’t Be Punished for Attack on Shireen Abu Akleh’s Funeral

No Israeli police officers will be punished, despite brutally assaulting mourners at last month’s funeral procession for slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a leading newspaper in Israel reported Thursday.

According toHaaretz, the decision to not hold any police commanders or officers accountable for their misconduct during Abu Akleh’s May 13 funeral was made in advance of the official investigation.

As thousands of mourners made their way through occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police attacked the cortege with batons, stun grenades, and tear gas, while stealing Palestinian flags from mourners and smashing the window of the hearse carrying Abu Akleh’s coffin. At one point, officers assaulted pallbearers carrying the casket, nearly causing them to drop it to the ground.

“We all saw Israeli police beat Palestinian pallbearers and mourners in Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral procession,” the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian rights tweeted. “There’s video evidence of their brutal violence.”

“We all know what happened,” the group added, “and we demand accountability for Israel’s murder of Shireen Abu Akleh.”

Israeli police claimed the mourners did not have permission to carry Abu Akleh’s casket on foot.

“Obviously the images that emerged were unpleasant and could have been different, but overall the police acted well in a complex and violent incident,” one senior officer told Haaretz.

Abu Akleh, 51, was a renowned Al Jazeera reporter who was fatally shot in the face while covering an Israeli military raid of the Jenin refugee camp in the illegally occupied West Bank on May 11. Another Palestinian journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was shot in the back but survived.

Jamal Huwail, a university professor who helped drag Abu Akleh’s body from the road where she was shot, toldCNN that Israeli forces “were shooting directly at the journalists.”

Israeli officials initially blamed Palestinian militants for killing Abu Akleh. However, separate investigations by The Washington Post, The Associated Press, CNN, Bellingcat, and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselemconfirmed claims by eyewitnessesand Al Jazeera that an Israeli soldier shot the reporters.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate claims Abu Akleh was the 86th journalist to be killed while covering Israeli oppression since the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem were occupied in 1967.

Phyllis Bennis and Richard Falk of the Institute of Policy Studies called Abu Akleh’s killing “part of a longer pattern of Israeli violence and collective punishment – not just against journalists but against all Palestinians – committed with impunity and rationalized by trumped-up ‘security’ concerns.”

News of the Israeli decision comes ahead of a visit by US President Joe Biden to Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Saudi Arabia next month.

Biden has faced criticism for supporting apartheid Israel and fundamentalist Saudi Arabia – whose repressive absolute monarchy has been implicated in the grisly murder of journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi – and for failing to thoroughly investigate Abu Akleh’s killing.

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.