Saturday, September 24, 2022

Catholic leader condemns Israeli conduct at journalist’s funeral

JERUSALEM ( Associated Press) – Top Catholic priests in the Holy Land condemned police beatings of mourners on Monday Carrying the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, accusing the authorities of human rights violations and disrespecting the Catholic Church.

Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa told reporters at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Jerusalem that Friday’s incident, broadcast around the world, was a “disproportionate use of force” for a Palestinian flag-waving crowd of thousands marching from the hospital to the nearby Catholic Church in Jerusalem. ” Was. old city. The attack drew worldwide condemnation and added to the shock and outrage of the killing of Abu Akle as he covered a shootout in the occupied West Bank.

The police attack, Pizzaballa told reporters, “is a serious violation of international norms and regulations, including a fundamental human right to freedom of religion, which must be observed even in a public place.” He spoke while sitting next to the leaders and pastors of other Christian churches.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel.

There is a war of narrative between Israel and the Palestinians over the assassination of Abu Akleh. The reporter, a Palestinian-American, a Catholic and a 25-year veteran of the satellite channel, was shot on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp. He was wearing a blue vest that clearly had “PRESS” written on it. Abu Akleh was a household name around the Arab world, best known for documenting the hardship of Palestinian life under Israeli rule.

Palestinian officials and witnesses, including journalists accompanying him, say he was killed in military firing. The military, after initially saying Palestinian gunmen might be responsible, later backed down and now says it is not clear who fired the fatal shot.

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Funeral violence caused another international uproar with the United States and the United Nations Israel’s critics.

Israeli police have claimed that they had agreed with Abu Aqleh’s family to arrange a premature funeral, and that crowds of mourners marched with the coffin, driving along with it and chanting nationalist slogans instead. breached the agreement.

But Abu Akleh’s brother Anton denied those claims. He said on Monday that the family had given funeral arrangements to the Israeli police, adding that the police did not want slogans or Palestinian flags. But he added, “It’s something we can’t control.”

Anton, who was one of the pallbearers, said police also wanted to know the route of the funeral, and there was no other agreement. “We wanted to put the coffin in the car,” he said. “We were getting in the car when they attacked us.”

Israeli police start investigation In the conduct of the officers attacking the mourners, causing the clappers to almost drop the coffin.

Meanwhile, Israel and the Palestinians continue to debate the investigation into the shooting.

Israel has demanded the bullet be analyzed by ballistic experts to arrive at concrete conclusions. Palestinian officials have refused, saying they do not trust Israel. Human rights groups say Israel has a poor record of investigating wrongdoing by its security forces.

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After previously saying they would accept an outside partner, the Palestinians said late Sunday that they would handle the investigation alone and give results very soon.

“We also refused an international investigation because we have confidence in our abilities as a security institution,” Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh declared. “We will not hand over any evidence to anyone because we know these people are capable of falsifying facts.”

Amid the controversy, several research and human rights groups have launched their own investigations.

Bellingcat, a Dutch-based international consortium of researchers, published an analysis of video and audio evidence collected on social media. The material came from both Palestinian and Israeli military sources, and the analysis looked at factors such as time stamps, the location of the video, shadows and forensic audio analysis of gunfire.

The group found that while both gunmen and Israeli soldiers were in the area, evidence supported the accounts of witnesses that Israeli fire killed Abu Akle.

“Based on what we were able to review, the IDF (Israeli troops) were in the closest position and had the clearest line of sight for Abu Akleh,” said Giancarlo Fiorella, lead researcher of the analysis.

Fiorella acknowledged that the analysis cannot be 100% certain without such evidence as bullets, weapons used by the military and the GPS locations of Israeli forces. But he added that the emergence of additional evidence usually strengthens preliminary findings and almost never overturns them.


Kelman reported from Tel Aviv, Israel.


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