Jerusalem's Saint Joseph French Hospital to sue Israeli police after attack on funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh

Jerusalem's Saint Joseph French Hospital to sue Israeli police after attack on funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh
Israeli police will soon face Jerusalem's French Hospital in court over a brutal attack on the funeral of veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh that left dozens of mourners injured.
3 min read
17 May, 2022
Jerusalem's Saint Joseph French Hospital to sue Israeli police over attacking participants at the funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh. (Getty)

The French Hospital in Jerusalem announced plans to sue the Israeli police after its forces stormed the main buildings and intimidated mourners at the funeral of Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh on Friday.

Speaking to The New Arab, Jamil Koussa, the director of the hospital, said on Tuesday that "currently, we are working on collecting documents and photos that document the Israeli attacks on mourners in a bid to sue them as soon as possible.” 

“The Israeli forces insisted on beating and using violence against peaceful people who did not pose any danger to them, violating all humanitarian laws," Koussa said, adding that "the hospital will not tolerate the Israeli police, regardless of the results."

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On Friday, dozens of Israeli policemen beat and fired rubber bullets at Palestinian mourners while they were taking part in the funeral of Abu Akleh, who was killed a few days earlier by Israeli army bullets while covering clashes in Jenin in the northern West Bank.

Israel has not yet taken responsibility for her death and has instead called for a joint Israeli-Palestinian investigation. 

Thousands of Palestinians rushed to take part in Abu Akleh's funeral across various Palestinian cities last week, including Jenin, Nablus, and Ramallah.

On Thursday, Abu Akleh’s body arrived in Jerusalem, her hometown, in a bid to organise her funeral on Friday afternoon.

However, ahead of the start of the funeral, the Israeli police summoned Tony Abu Akleh, Shireen’s brother, asking him not to raise Palestinian flags or banners against Israel.

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Abu Akleh said in televised press statements that "I told them (Israeli police) that I cannot control the masses that will participate in the funeral because it is patriotism in which all Palestinians of all political and religious sects will participate."

When mourners left the hospital carrying the coffin of Abu Akleh, dozens of Israeli police forces stormed the hospital yard and fired stun grenades while physically attacking mourners, forcing them to retreat.

Local Palestinians shared a number of videos and photos on social media, all of which highlighted "the use of severe violence against pallbearers, which resulted in the injury of a number of them."

Koussa, the hospital's director, explained that the majority of the injuries were from rubber bullets that struck the face and eyes, stressing that "they will work hard to hold the Israeli police accountable and punish as soon as possible so that they stop violating the law in the future."

Bahaa al-Khatib, a young man from Jerusalem, was among the mourners wounded by rubber bullets fired by Israeli police, though he insisted on remaining at the funeral until reaching the final destination - the cemetery where Abu Akleh was buried.

Al-Khatib told The New Arab that "the main objective of the attack on us is not to prevent Shireen's funeral, but to prevent us from carrying the Palestinian flags. It was our announcement to the world that the Palestinians will continue to carry their national identity no matter how Israel tries to eliminate it."

"The presence of this number of participants at Shireen's funeral is a clear message to Israel that it will end one day and that the Palestinians have not and will not give up their homeland, their land, and their national, religious and human rights,” he explained. 

Al-Khatib called on the international community to "impose political, security and economic isolation on Israel (...) because it is simply a country that does not recognise the law, neither does it recognise humans."