On Friday, May 13, The New York Times website ran the headline “Israeli Police Attack Funeral of Killed Palestinian Journalist,” which was then updated to “Israeli Police Attack Mourners at Funeral of Palestinian Journalist.” The journalist in question was, of course, 51-year-old Shireen Abu Akleh, the veteran Al Jazeera reporter who was shot in the head and killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank.
As the Times reported, Israeli police officers had begun “beating and kicking mourners” during the funeral procession in Jerusalem, “forcing the porters to nearly drop the coffin.” In any case, this was graciously straightforward information coming from the same news outlet that had opted to use the casual phrase just days before.Dies at 51in the announcement of Abu Akleh’s assassination.
The US newspaper is also known for such journalistic perversions as reducing the Israeli military massacre of four Palestinian children playing football in the Gaza Strip in 2014 to the following headline: “Boys marched to Gaza Beach, and to the center of the struggle in Gaza.” the Middle East”. You might have expected a May 13th summary from the Times along the lines of, “The coffin nearly falls at the journalist’s funeral, in deplorable embodiment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Over the course of her devoted career, Abu Akleh herself embodied Palestinian humanity by speaking the truth against power. Now the occupying power has responded by shooting her in the head and attacking its mourners — a response that can only be classified as acute and multi-layered state brutality, in line with Israel’s modus operandi of refusing to let Palestinians live, die. or be buried in peace.
There is also the issue of not allowing dead and buried Palestinians to remain dead and buried in peace, which happens, for example, when the Israeli military commits to bomb cemeteries in Gaza – as if it were somehow possible to retroactively erase Palestinian existence by blowing up bones.
Certainly, Israeli attacks on funerals are nothing new – which shouldn’t surprise anyone given Israel’s track record of attacking ambulances, hospitals, medical personnel, schools, UN complexes, apartment buildings, animals, trees, babies and just about anything else that can be attacked.
Remember the July 29, 2021 attack by Israeli troops on the funeral of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Alami, who was shot in the chest by Israeli soldiers the previous day as he traveled with his father in a car in the West Bank city. Beit Omar. Al-Alami’s funeral, in turn, led to another: that of 20-year-old Shawkat Awad of the same city, who was killed by Israeli fire while mourning al-Alami.
In another case illustrating Israel’s apparent fetish for funeral attacks, Israeli security forces were unleashed against the March 2, 2022 funeral of 19-year-old Palestinian student Ammar Abu Afifa, killed by an Israeli bullet in the Al-Aroub refugee camp north of Hebron . Even the Times of Israel, a fierce Zionist group, felt compelled to take the headline: “Israeli forces have shot and killed a Palestinian teenager. The military has not said what he has done wrong.”
Fast forward two months to Abu Akleh’s funeral, and the violent images of the baton-wielding Israeli police have earned a rare condemnation from outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who described the scenes as “deeply disturbing”. Not that the United States doesn’t regularly display highly disturbing behavior, including at funerals.
Anyway, Israel and the US have long been two peas in a sadistic pod; Israeli malice just has a more intense geographic focus. Incidentally, May 15—just two days after Abu Akleh was buried in Jerusalem—marks the seventy-fourth anniversary of the Nakba, as Palestinians mourned the establishment of the state of Israel on Palestinian land in 1948. 500 Palestinian villages, the murder of more than 10,000 Palestinians and the expulsion of at least three quarters of a million more – the beginning of a bloody trajectory that continues to this day.
Unfortunately for Israel, however, Palestinian identity cannot be wiped out with the barrel of a gun; nor will Palestinians spontaneously forget their existence as Israeli security forces have arrested mourners for carrying the Palestinian flag at Abu Akleh’s funeral. And while Israel is driving the final nails in the coffin of its own projected image of humanity, the truth is that all pretensions of Israeli humanity should have been buried long ago.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.