Israeli police attack another Palestinian funeral in Jerusalem

Mourners carry the coffin of PalestinianWaleed Shareef during his funeral at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Mahmoud Illean - AP)

Yumna Patel

Mondoweiss  /  May 17, 2022

Israeli police attacked the funeral of slain Palestinian Walid al-Sharif in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday night, injuring dozens of funeral goers. Al-Sharif, 23, was shot in the head with a rubber coated steel bullet by Israeli forces on April 22 during an Israeli assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Israeli police attacked the funeral of slain Palestinian Walid al-Sharif in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday night, injuring dozens of funeral goers. 

Al-Sharif, 23, was shot in the head with a rubber coated steel bullet by Israeli forces on April 22 during an Israeli assault on Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the holy month of Ramadan that left dozens of people injured. 

Video footage of the assault on the 22nd showed Israeli forces storming the compound and firing towards the crowds. After a shot in his direction, al-Sharif can be seen falling to the ground and lying there motionless, before Israeli forces dragged him away. 

Despite the video footage and testimony from witnesses and al-Sharif’s family, Israeli police denied shooting him, claiming that he died from injuries he sustained after falling to the ground. eyewitness and 

Al-Jazeera reported that Israeli hospital officials “declined to give a precise cause of death.”

Al-Sharif had been in critical condition in hospital for the past three weeks, until he succumbed to his wounds on May 14th. Israeli forces detained his body before releasing him to his family for burial on Monday. 

According to local media reports, thousands of Palestinians gathered at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound where al-Sharif’s body was brought by his family to perform the funeral prayer. 

Following the prayer, thousands of funeral goers carried his body from the mosque to a cemetery outside the Old City. 

Video footage shared on social media showed heavily armed Israeli police forces attacking the funeral procession as it moved from the Al-Aqsa compound to the cemetery. 

According to Al-Jazeera reporter Wajd Waqfi, Israeli police attacked mourners and prevented them from carrying Palestinian flags, and arrested dozens of Palestinians. The Israeli police reported 20 arrests.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 71 Palestinians were wounded from rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and beatings. At least 13 people required hospitalization. 

At least one of the injured was reported to be in serious condition after being shot in the eye with a rubber-coated steel bullet. The injured man was reported to be Nader al-Sharif, a relative of the deceased. 

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan said that al-Sharif was in critical condition and was being treated at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. The center added that Israeli forces had stormed his hospital room and were forcing his family members out. 

The Israeli police’s attack on the funeral procession sparked confrontations in East Jerusalem that lasted into the night, as Palestinians threw stones and launched fireworks towards Israeli forces. 

The Israeli police reported that six officers were hurt, and released a statement saying that its forces “acted resolutely against hundreds of lawbreakers and violent rioters who … took violent actions against the forces endangering their lives”.

Both Palestinian and Jordanian leaders condemned the attack on the funeral, which came just days after Israeli police attacked the funeral of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in East Jerusalem.

The attack on Abu Akleh’s funeral, which was widely televised, prompted outrage across the globe, as videos of Israeli police attacking pallbearers were circulated on social media. 

Israeli police claimed that they were attacked with stones, though their claims were refuted by video footage and eyewitness accounts. 

New video footage released by the St Joseph hospital in Jerusalem, where Abu Akleh’s funeral procession set off from, showed dozens of heavily-armed police storming the hospital, including the Emergency unit, during the funeral, assaulting medical staff, patients and mourners.

Other security camera footage showed police firing a smoke grenade in the direction of the hospital before breaking inside.

The hospital said that it has contacted a law firm to” examine the possibility of initiating a complaint against the Israeli occupation authorities over police violence,” Wafa news reported. 

Yumna Patel is the Palestine News Director for Mondoweiss