US ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by Violence at Abu Akleh’s Funeral in Jerusalem
The White House on Friday said images showing Israeli police officers charging at Palestinians carrying the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh are “deeply disturbing.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that US officials will remain in close contact with Israeli and Palestinian authorities in the aftermath of Akleh's funeral.
“We have all seen those images. They’re obviously deeply disturbing,” she stressed.
“This is a day where we should all be marking, including everyone there, the memory of a remarkable journalist who lost her life,” Psaki added.
“With the disturbing footage from the funeral procession today in Jerusalem,” Psaki said the US administration regrets the intrusion of what should have been a peaceful procession.
She urged respect for the funeral procession, the mourner and the family at this sensitive time.
Television footage showed pallbearers struggling to stop Abu Akleh’s coffin from falling to the ground as baton-wielding police officers charged towards them, grabbing Palestinian flags from mourners.
The European Union said it was “appalled” by the “unnecessary force” used by police before and during the funeral.
Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American journalist, was shot and killed on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank. The broadcaster and two reporters who were with her blamed Israeli forces.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said that Washington is "deeply troubled" by Israeli police's intrusion Friday at the funeral.
"We were deeply troubled to see the images of Israeli police intruding into her funeral procession today," Blinken said in a statement.
"Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner," he said.
"We remain in close contact with our Israeli and Palestinian counterparts and call on all to maintain calm and avoid any actions that could further escalate tensions."