Analysis | Israeli Police Violence at Al Jazeera Journalist’s Funeral Reveals a Deeper Problem

Source: Haaretz

The decisions of Israeli police at events like journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral display their inability to see the humanity and pain of the Palestinian people

Police, dressed in black, wearing helmets and protective gear, using their batons to assault people carrying a coffin at a funeral procession. They strike their legs until the coffin slips, almost hitting the ground. This is what most of the world saw – and this is what most of the world will remember from the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, which took place in Jerusalem on Friday.

Many have spoken in Israel over the last 24 hours. The situation is problematic, they’re saying, so much so that it nearly constitutes a public relations disaster. But the real problem lies not in the way this incident is perceived by the world, but in the unjustified use of violence by the police. This was one of the most extreme visual expressions of the occupation and the humiliation the Palestinian people experience: A senior Palestinian journalist, well-known around the Arab world, has covered the violence and wrongdoings of the Israeli occupation for decades. She dies in an exchange of gunfire, and Israeli soldiers are considered the main suspects. Upon her death, she is a Palestinian icon, her funeral a national event. Precisely at this moment – at the height of mourning – club wielding Israeli police officers arrive at the scene.

The police rushed to publish a video clip recorded from a drone at the funeral showing two young men throwing what appears to be a water bottle at the police officers, before they charge at him. Yet this is a flimsy excuse for such conduct, at an event that should have been managed with the utmost sensitivity. Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai has ordered an investigation into police conduct at the funeral. Though this incident is just one of many in which Israeli police behaved unacceptably, thereby exacerbating the situation at hand and deepening the humiliation of the victims.

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Categories: Israel, Racism

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