United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet criticized the Israeli police’s attack on the bereaved during the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Friday.
“I am following events of deep distress in the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. Footage of Israeli police attacking mourners at journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral procession in East Jerusalem on Friday, May 13, was shocking. Reports indicate that at least 33 people were injured,” she said.
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Israeli forces stormed a Jerusalem hospital on Friday as the coffin containing Abu Akleh’s body emerged before the burial, with police saying they had acted against people who “disturbed public order”, AFP reported.
Israeli forces attack Palestinians as they carry the coffin of Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem on May 13, 2022. (Reuters)
TV footage showed the Al Jazeera reporter’s coffin nearly falling to the ground as police snatched Palestinian flags from the crowd surrounding the procession outside Saint Joseph hospital in Israel-annexed East Jerusalem.
Bachelet considered the use of force by the Israeli police unnecessary at the time and called for an immediate and transparent investigation into the matter.
“The use of Israeli force, which was being filmed and broadcast live, seemed unnecessary and must be investigated swiftly and transparently,” said the UN rights chief.
“There must be responsibility for the horrific murder not only of Shireen Abu Akleh, but for all the killings and serious injuries in the occupied Palestinian territory,” she added, noting that international law required a “prompt, transparent, independent and impartial investigation.” the use of force that results in injury or death.
The body of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh arrives at a hospital in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on May 12, 2022. (AFP)
“As I have asked many times before, there must be proper investigations into the actions of Israeli security forces. Anyone found responsible must be held accountable with criminal and disciplinary sanctions proportionate to the seriousness of the violation,” Bachelet said.
“This culture of impunity must end now.”
Since the beginning of 2022, some 48 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, she explained, and she commemorated the death of Walid al-Sharif, a young Palestinian who succumbed to the serious injuries he sustained at the Al Aqsa Mosque Complex in hands of Israeli forces.
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