Contributed by Jim Hayes
Last Wednesday’s murder by Israeli forces of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, was ignored world’s political leaders eager to court the Israeli government. The hypocrisy is not lost on those aware of world events, where the outrage is selective and politically directed. But there is no way to hide the murder of a well-known journalist. Nor could the repercussions inside Israel, and especially in the Palestinian territories be hidden.
The Palestinian-American journalist was shot in the head while reporting on an Israeli military raid in the West Bank.
Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed by Israeli forces
Video from Al Jazeera English
At first, the Israeli authority’s official response was she was probably killed by crossfire. When nobody bought this, an inquiry was promised. Nobody brought this because such inquiries have a history of finding the Israeli forces innocent.
There were too many eyewitnesses to this killing, and the truth has found its way around the world, to become undeniable and an awkward problem for the Israeli government to handle.
Israeli forces beat mourners carrying Abu Akleh’s body
Video from Al Jazeera English
Perhaps this is what lies behind the disgraceful scene during Abu Akleh’s funeral procession in Jerusalem last Friday local time. Police violently clubbed mourners and used stun grenades. They targeted the coffin’s bearers, hitting them and aimed to injure their legs, to prevent the coffin from being carried.
Images of the attack were seen around the world, which saw the brutality and s how mourners came to help carry the coffin and submit themselves to blows and continued until the coffin reached the Catholic Church near the old city. Abu Akleh was a Christian.
Israeli police tried to blame the mourners at first and accused them of trying to sabotage the funeral and of attacking police. This lame excuse gave way to an official backtracking statement from the police on the weekend, which said the “…Israel Police supports its police officers, but as a professional organisation that seeks to learn and improve, it will also draw lessons from the incident.”
Isreali police attack mourners at journalist’s funeral
YouTube has restricted this video. It can still be watched on the YouTube link below.
Video by Insider News
The attack was so obvious that United Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had to say that Washington is “troubled by the images…” Given that the United Sates is the main backer of Israel, this has some significance, which is bringing more world attention to what happened.
But Blinken’s comment also exposes the hypocrisy of selective amnesia and the failure to condemn the murder and the attack on the mourners. This is from a nation that likes to portray itself as the defender of freedom and a free press. The actions of its leaders show that the reality is far from the claim.
The United Nations Security Council has condemned the attack and achieved a level of unity rarely seen. A line up of governments have followed suit. Sadly, the Australian government hasn’t shown the spinal fortitude to make a comment, even if it is locked in an election campaign.
Ayman Mohyeldin on Tothe killing of Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
Video from MSNBCMSNBC
Religious leaders have condemned the attack on the funeral. This includes the head of the Catholic Church in Israel, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who described it as “is a severe violation of international norms and regulations, including the fundamental human right of freedom of religion, which must be observed also in a public space.”
Leaders of other Christian denominations joined the Catholic Church leader.
People took to the streets around the world to condemn Israel’s actions and demand justice for the Palestinians on the anniversary of the occupation in 1948. The Palestinians call this Nakba, which translates to Catastrophe Day.
Melbourne saw hundreds gather outside the State Library in the City to listen to Palestinian speakers and then marched through the city. Similar actions took place in other cities around Australia. Bigger numbers marched in London and other cities.