Churches condemn Israeli police charge at Al Jazeera reporter’s funeral


On Monday, a group representing 12 Christian denominations decried Israeli riot police activities during the funeral of a Palestinian Christian Al Jazeera journalist, calling them a violation of religious freedom.

When police charged, mourners, some carrying Palestinian flags, were taking Shireen Abu Akleh’s corpse from the convent-run Saint Joseph Hospital to the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin.

The incident on Friday, in which baton-wielding officers assaulted Abu Akleh’s pallbearers, was aired live around the world, reigniting international outrage over the reporter’s death during an Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank.

According to a hospital statement, the police activities were a “invasion and disproportionate use of force… (and) a significant violation of international norms and rules, including the fundamental right to freedom of religion.”

Police said they were investigating the incident, which they blamed on “hundreds of rioters.”

The Palestinian Authority and Israel are still at odds over Abu Akleh’s Wednesday shooting in Jenin.

Palestinians accuse Israel of assassinating her and have demanded a global response. Israel has denied targeting her, claiming she was inadvertently shot by a soldier or a Palestinian gunman during a firefight.

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