HomeWhy Israeli police attacked mourners at Shireen Abu Akleh's Funeral?

Why Israeli police attacked mourners at Shireen Abu Akleh’s Funeral?

Published on

The funeral of killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was briefly overshadowed by scenes of horror and mayhem when Israeli police attacked mourners accompanying her casket.

Hundreds of Israeli police officers stormed the funeral procession, hitting, kicking, and attempting to stop mourners from carrying Abu Akleh’s body from a hospital in occupied East Jerusalem to a church service before her burial.

Police used batons to hit mourners as they tried to hold up Abu Akleh’s coffin, which was covered in a Palestinian flag, leading the pallbearers to almost drop the coffin to the ground, according to television footage. The mourners were compelled to place Abu Akleh’s casket in a hearse due to the violence, according to reports.

The Israeli police’s main goal was to stop people from flying the Palestinian flag.

“No showing of Palestinian identity,” In her reportage of the funeral on Friday, Stefanie Dekker of Al Jazeera said, “… I think this is what it’s really about.”

On the day Abu Akleh was killed, police entered her home to remove a Palestinian flag and instructed mourners to turn off patriotic music, according to Dekker.

Israeli authorities summoned Abu Akleh’s brother on Thursday night, telling him to tell mourners not to carry Palestinian flags or recite Palestinian slogans.

According to Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, Israeli police arrested at least four mourners, including two for raising the Palestinian flag, and smashed a glass to remove a Palestinian flag from the hearse.

“Two men were arrested for actually raising the Palestinian flag. That’s actually illegal under Israeli law,” according to him. “When Shireen’s car carrying the casket actually came in, there was a Palestinian flag on display in the back of the car. The Israeli police actually smashed that window in and took the flag.”

Palestinian flags were also taken from outside the church where Abu Akleh’s relatives were collecting condolences.

Many others turned to social media to express their outrage over the events, with some tweeting, “Even in mourning, Palestinians are not free from Israeli violence.”

The assassination of Abu Akleh, who had become a household figure in the region, sent shockwaves around the world and brought additional attention to Israel’s fear of a flag.

According to Marwa Fatafta, a policy member of the think-tank Al Shabaka, the very existence of the Palestinian flag poses a challenge to Israeli identity.

“When a regime is hellbent on your erasure, even a flag is seen as a threat,” Fatafta told Al Jazeera.

The Israeli occupation is “adamant in its mission to ethnically erase Palestinians from Jerusalem”.

“They steal and demolish homes, they attack worshippers, they crack down on public spaces, they exile Jerusalemites from their city.

“For Palestinians to raise a flag in Jerusalem, despite this brutal violence, is to remind them of what they dread the most: We are still here.”

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Israeli rights group B’Tselem have all ruled that Israel’s policies against Palestinians amount to apartheid.

Palestinian activists have reported being purposefully targeted while waving Palestinian flags in Jerusalem throughout the years, and Israeli efforts to remove Palestinian flags during rallies have increased.

Israeli police have even deflated balloons bearing the Palestinian flag’s colors of red, green, black, and white.

However, in September 2021, Jerusalem’s Magistrates Court ruled that displaying the Palestinian flag is not a criminal offense. According to Haaretz, the court decision came after four persons were arrested for displaying a flag.

Palestinian flags, on the other hand, are often confiscated by police on the grounds that they could cause a significant disruption of the peace, according to the news organization.

It wasn’t always like this.

Israel acquired control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank after the 1967 war, and then annexed East Jerusalem — a decision that was never recognized by the majority of the international world.

Israel outlawed the Palestinian flag from being flown in the occupied territory at the time, and a few years later outlawed its portrayal in any artwork.

To avoid recent suppression of their flag and national colors, Palestinians have resorted to carrying sliced watermelons as a protest signal, turning the watermelon into a symbol of resistance to occupation.

A watermelon emoji, with its natural colors resembling the Palestinian flag, is widely used by Palestinians on social media platforms amid increased censoring of Palestinian and Palestine-related messages.

Image Credit: Getty

You were reading: Why Israeli police attacked mourners at Shireen Abu Akleh’s Funeral?

Latest articles

Aging: This Is What Happens Inside Your Body Right After Exercise

The concept of reversing aging, once relegated to the realm of science fiction, has...

Immune-Boosting Drink that Mimics Fasting to Reduce Fat – Scientists ‘Were Surprised’ By New Findings

It triggers a 'fasting-like' state In a recent study, scientists discovered that the microbes found in...

Gun Violence in America: What They Don’t Talk About at the Debate

Some of the less discussed impacts of gun violence in six major U.S. cities...

This Might Be a Better Way to Age-proof Your Eyes and Reduce AMD Risk, According to Optometrist

According to expert, this supplement can absorb blue light, protect the highly sensitive cells...

More like this

Aging: This Is What Happens Inside Your Body Right After Exercise

The concept of reversing aging, once relegated to the realm of science fiction, has...

Immune-Boosting Drink that Mimics Fasting to Reduce Fat – Scientists ‘Were Surprised’ By New Findings

It triggers a 'fasting-like' state In a recent study, scientists discovered that the microbes found in...

Gun Violence in America: What They Don’t Talk About at the Debate

Some of the less discussed impacts of gun violence in six major U.S. cities...