Scenes at Abu Akleh's funeral looked as if it was 'made in apartheid SA' - Desmond Tutu IP Foundation


  • The Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Foundation spoke out against the attacks by Israeli soldiers at Shireen Abu Akleh's funeral.
  • Israeli soldiers attacked crowds carrying the casket during the funeral.
  • It happened on Friday.

The attacks on the funeral procession of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh looked as though it was "made in apartheid South Africa", the Desmond Tutu IP Foundation said on Saturday.

"The scenes of members of the Israeli security forces attacking pallbearers at the funeral in Jerusalem of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh yesterday were chillingly reminiscent of the brutality meted out to mourners at the funerals of anti-apartheid activists in South Africa during our struggle for freedom," said chairperson Mamphela Ramphele. 

"As Archbishop Tutu taught us, the perpetrators of violence and human rights violations might think they are advancing their goals, but are in fact undermining their own humanity and integrity."

Abu Akleh reported for Al Jazeerah, focusing on Palestine, and was shot dead on Wednesday while in Jenin covering Israeli raids. 

Al Jazeera reported that she was identifiable as a journalist, wearing a blue flak jacket marked "PRESS". She was shot in the head and died later. Al Jazeera reported that it was allegedly by Israeli forces. Another Al Jazeera journalist, producer Ali al-Samoudi, was shot in the back and taken to hospital. 

Then, shocking events unfolded on Friday when pallbearers carrying her coffin were pushed, kicked, hit, and almost lost their balance in the chaos of police surrounding them, which included stun grenades being thrown. 

In a tweet, the Israel Defence Force (IDF) said it carried out the raid in Jenin after 19 people had been killed in the last weeks in the "terrorist stronghold".

The IDF conducted a "counter-terrorism operation" to apprehend an operative and was attacked with heavy gunfire and explosives from dozens of Palestinian gunmen. 

The IDF's international spokesperson, Amnon Shefler, said Akleh was shot dead during the operation. 

"Her death was a tragedy," he said, adding that they would never deliberately attack a journalist. 

The Israel Police tweeted that rioters tried to sabotage the ceremony and harm the police: "The Israel Police prepared yesterday [Friday] to facilitate a calm and dignified funeral for journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and had coordinated the funeral arrangements with her family. Unfortunately, hundreds of rioters tried to sabotage the ceremony and harm the police."

The United Nations (UN) also issued a statement. 

ALSO READ | Police clash with mourners at funeral of Al Jazeera journalist killed in West Bank

Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, said: "The Secretary-General condemns all attacks and killings of journalists, and stresses that journalists must never be the target of violence.

"Media workers should be able to carry out their work freely and without harassment, intimidation or the fear of being targeted. The Secretary-General reiterates his firm conviction that a free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights."

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