White House calls images of Israeli police attacking funeral of slain Palestinian journalist ‘deeply disturbing’

·2 min read

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the scenes from a funeral procession in Jerusalem for a Palestinian-American journalist who was fatally shot during an Israeli raid “deeply disturbing,” as widely shared footage shows Israeli officers beating pallbearers carrying the coffin containing the body of Shireen Abu Akleh.

“We have all seen those images. They’re obviously deeply disturbing. This is a day where we should all be marking, including everyone there, the memory of a remarkable journalist who lost her life,” Ms Psaki said from the White House on 13 May.

“With the disturbing footage from the funeral procession today in Jerusalem, we regret the intrusion of what should have been a peaceful procession,” she said. “We urge respect for the funeral procession, the mourner and the family at this sensitive time.”

She added that Joe Biden’s administration remains “in close with with Israeli and Palestinian authorities.”

On 11 May, the longtime Al Jazeera journalist was shot dead by Israeli forces as she covered Israeli army raids in the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, according to witnesses and the Palestinian health ministry.

Al Jazeera has urged the international community to “condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for deliberately targeting and killing our colleague.”

As mourners carried a casket containing her body from the St Louis French Hospital in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood on Friday, Israeli forces surrounded the crowndand beat them with batons. There were also reports of stun grenades being used.

Earlier this week, the White House called for an “immediate and thorough investigation and full accountability” for her killing. “Investigating attacks on independent media and prosecuting those responsible are of paramount importance,” Ms Psaki said in a statement on Wednesday.

US officials have condemned her killing and Israeli police violence.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib called the funeral attack “sickening” and “violent racism” and urged the US Department of State to condemn the violence.

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