Jerusalem24– The Israeli police refused on Wednesday to release the findings of an internal investigation into the conduct of Israeli officers at the funeral procession of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli forces in Jenin on 11 May.
On 13 May, Israeli police attacked mourners and pallbearers during Abu Akleh’s funeral in Jerusalem, causing her casket to narrowly miss falling to the ground.
The attack was widely documented on social media and provoked outrage around the globe.
Haaretz quoted sources as saying, “The decision not to punish any police commanders overseeing Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral was actually made in advance of the investigation into the officers’ attacks on mourners at the slain journalist’s procession.”
Israeli police officials announced that the findings had been delivered to Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, along with a corresponding statement in which Shabtai said, “The funeral procession of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was a complex event. It is impossible to remain indifferent to the difficult scenes.”
Shabtai said the incident needed to be properly reviewed, “so that [future] sensitive events such as these are not violently disturbed by rioters,” blaming the mourners for the violent scenes.
“Under my guidance, the police reviewed the conduct of the forces on the ground, with the aim of drawing lessons and improving operational conduct in similar future incidents.” Shabtai added that he continues to trust the officers under his command “to do their job faithfully for the safety of the entire public.”
Asked why there was no mention of what the investigation had concluded, a police source told Ynet, “That’s it for now.”
According to a Channel 13 report last month, a leaked internal police report concluded that the use of force – including stun grenades – could have been avoided.
Video footage documented both the police violence against the pallbearers and others outside the hospital, and showed dozens of Israel Police officers rushing into the hospital, hitting and shoving people inside, including patients, and firing stun grenades into the crowd.
Israeli police initially claimed, “A mob of 300 rioters had seized the casket against the wishes of the family, and intended to march with it from the hospital to Jaffa Gate, in breach of understanding the police had reached with the family.” However, Anton Abu Akleh, Shireen’s elder brother, denied these claims and said that the family and mourners had hoped to hold a smooth procession but were attacked by the Israeli police.
Abu Akleh, a prominent and beloved Al Jazeera journalist, was reporting on an Israeli military raid on Jenin camp in the occupied West Bank on May 11th when she was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper according to the findings of the Palestinian General Prosecution, CNN, and Washington Post, and AlHaq separate investigations.
The Israeli military refused previously to investigate the killing of Abu Akleh, on grounds that there is “no suspicion of a criminal act.”
Haaretz quoted Israel’s Military Police Criminal Investigation Division at the time, which said they believed an investigation that treats Israeli soldiers as suspects would lead to opposition within Israeli society.