Israel: rights group denounced state for attacks on Palestinian mourners

An Israeli soldier snatches a Palestinian flag from a car in a convoy of Palestinian mourners, on their way to the funeral op 17 year old Muhammad Awde who was killed by Israeli forces (Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  July 26, 2022

The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories — B’Tselem – has denounced the Zionist state for attacks on Palestinian mourners.

Aside from the attack on the funeral of Palestinian-American Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on 13 May, B’Tselem has documented three other recent attacks on mourners at funerals.

“During the funeral [of Shireen], Israel Police and Border Police officers beat the pallbearers and other attendees,” said B’Tselem. “Footage of this violence was shared around the world, drawing harsh reactions and strong criticism. Official Israel, however, remained unfazed.”

B’Tselem pointed out that, “According to media reports, an investigation ordered by the Israel Police commissioner was launched with a promise of no prosecutions and no disciplinary action against any of the persons involved.”

The rights group documented three more funerals of Palestinians in which soldiers and police officers assaulted mourners, preventing them from bringing the deceased to burial on their own terms and holding a respectful burial ceremony. It gave the details as follows: “The funeral of Walid as-Sharif, 23, held on 16 May 2022 in East Jerusalem; the funeral of Ghufran Warasnah, 30, held on 1 June 2022 in Al-Arrub refugee camp and the funeral of Nayfeh at-Tous, held on 1 July 2022 in Beit Ummar.”

Video footage and testimonies that participants gave B’Tselem, the group said, indicate that the Israeli occupation forces attacked attendees with clubs, tear gas canisters, stun grenades and sponge rounds.

“Israeli violence during the four funerals is not an aberration,” it insisted, noting that it had documented similar cases in the past. “These incidents represent one aspect of the apartheid regime’s official policy toward grieving Palestinians.”

B’Tselem also condemned Israel’s holding the bodies of Palestinians with the approval of the Supreme Court. “Israel is holding 103 bodies of Palestinians, including nine minors, and is preventing their families from parting with their loved ones and bringing them to burial.”