Surrounded with Violence Before and After Death


Pallbearers carry Abu Akleh’s casket while mourners watch. Just moments later, these people would be attacked by Israeli police. “They do this one act of violence and then that leads to a reaction from the people who don’t agree with these actions, and then it becomes one large conflict,” Olds said.

Brandon Mudd, Staff Writer

She just can’t get a break. 

Those present at the funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh were attacked by Israeli police. 

Following her death on Wed. May 11, Abu Akleh’s funeral was planned to be held on May 13. During her funeral, the Israeli police caused a violent attack against those mourning as well as the pallbearers almost causing her casket to fall to the ground. These actions have again been condemned by the United States (U.S.), but no action has been taken to back this up. 

Abu Akleh was a journalist who was in Jenin, a city in the West Bank of Palestine, trying to cover the story of an Israeli invasion into a nearby city and refugee camp. She was shot and killed during this time with the killers possibly being the Israel Defense Force (I.D.F.) even though the Israeli government initially claimed that it had been done by Palestinian rebels. “An investigation needs to be done by some sort of middleman,” junior Alex Schmidt said. An impartial investigation into the journalist’s death has yet to be conducted, but new evidence has arisen that points towards the shots coming from an I.D.F. jeep. 

During her funeral, Israeli police officers were present under orders to ensure that the event remained peaceful. However, when mourners came to the front of the hospital where her body was being held to oversee her casket being carried to a nearby church, the police quickly read this situation as an act of Palestinian nationalism, something that is illegal in Israel. “The police had no reason to be there because it wasn’t political in any way and nobody was in danger. It was only a service to honor her life,” junior Katie Olds said. However, the police were there and attempted to confiscate the Palestinian flags held by the mourners and silence the Palestinian chants. The mourners resisted this and the police began attacking the crowd with their batons.

The pallbearers were unexpected victims during the funeral. “It is completely disrespectful to the life of the dead, and senselessly violent to have attacked the pallbearers,” junior Anh Ho said. During this attack the pallbearers nearly lost their grip on Abu Akleh’s casket causing it to tip halfway over. 

The police had originally warned the family of Abu Akleh that they didn’t want her funeral to be public out of fear it could turn into a resistance outbreak. The family ignored the police saying that Abu Akleh would have wanted the people she fought for to be a part of her funeral. “Nobody should have to feel unsafe at a funeral,” junior Karley Dugas said. The station that the police officers worked for has come out and defended the actions of their officers. They blamed the family saying they made the decision to make it public. 

The U.S. responded to the events at the funeral by condemning the actions of the police. “We were deeply troubled to see the images of Israeli police intruding into her funeral procession today. Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner,” Anothy Bliken, the U.S. Secretary of State said in a press statement. However, the U.S. still has taken no direct action against Israel after Abu Akleh’s death or the attack on her funeral despite her status as an American citizen.