We welcome the news that, at least at this point, Israel will not be launching a criminal investigation into the death of Shireen Abu Aqleh. She was the very prominent Palestinian journalist and American citizen who was killed by gunfire last month in the midst of an arrest raid on suspected Palestinian terrorists in Jenin by Israeli commandos. While an “operational inquiry” to determine whether she succumbed to IDF or Palestinian gunfire will be pursued, Israel has for now rejected out of hand the Palestinian’s rash claim that she was targeted by the IDF. To have lent any credence at all to the Palestinian claim would have given it legs.
As we have already noted the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the usual anti-Israel cabal in the UN and European Union were quick to blame Israel and not Palestinian gunmen for the journalist’s death – even before the facts were in.
For its part, the Israeli military had initially said it could not determine with any certainty the source of the fatal bullet since the death occurred in the course of a fluid firefight and the Palestinians were unwilling to allow Israel to examine the bullet or otherwise cooperate in an investigation.
Nor, apparently, will there be a criminal probe into the PA’s sophomoric contention that Israeli police provoked the violence between police and Palestinians marching with the coffin on their shoulders. On that score we observed early on that the funeral took place in the midst of an incipient intifada and it was only logical that Israel would try to prevent the funeral of a high profile Palestinian personality to be hijacked by militants up to no good and whose colleagues were already integral to the episode. So it was a no-brainer that Israel would make careful arrangements with the family to govern the event – as it said it did – and enforce them.
In fact, as a Palestine Media Watch (PMW) report released the other day demonstrates, the violence was attributable to a Palestinian mob’s desire to hijack Shireen Abu Akleh’s Christian funeral so it would obscure that she was a Christian and not a Muslim.
As per the PMW report, the family wanted the coffin to be taken from the hospital directly to a particular church in the church’s hearse and not be carried on the shoulders of Palestinians through the streets of the Old City in accordance with Palestinian tradition for shahids, or Islamic martyrs.
However, as the church’s hearse approached the hospital, a Palestinian mob stopped it and banged on the windows, forcing it to leave without the coffin. The mob then seized the coffin and began its march with some carrying the coffin on their shoulders. When police intervened to return the body to the hospital to await the arrival of the hearse and allow for a delivery to the church the mob erupted and attacked the police who then used force to defend themselves. Under police protection the hearse returned to the hospital, picked up the coffin and transported it to the church.
Predictably, the Palestinians tried mightily to spin the scenes of Israeli police hitting Palestinians. Kudos to PMW for investigating and setting the record straight.