Horrible scenes as Israeli security forces beat the funeral procession for slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the crowd momentarily lose control of her casket pic.twitter.com/DEJF5Ty9tZ
— Emir Nader (@EmirNader) May 13, 2022
Israel has sunk to a new low even I thought it could not reach. It summoned Anton Abu Aqleh to a Jerusalem police station yesterday and warned if he personally didn’t control crowds at today’s funeral for his murdered sister, Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu-Aqleh, that the police would take action to “preserve order.” That’s a euphemistic locution for breaking heads.
Sure enough, mourners accompanying her casket to the gravesite waved Palestinian flags and shouted nationalist slogans. Just the sort of “unrest” the police expected and even looked forward to, in a perverse way. Because Israeli police are programmed like Pavlov’s Dog to salivate at the sight of Palestinian resistance. It gets the juices flowing and sets the arms flailing. The police need to have a reason to exist and this is it. Now, they can go to their political funders and the general citizenry and say “you see what we’re protecting you from?” We do the dirty work so you don’t have to.
It’s an obscene phenomenon. It essentially lets the Israeli Jewish citizen off the hook. They don’t have to do the due diligence citizens in democratic states have to. They don’t have to hold their representatives, whether political or security, accountable for their actions. They give over to these state forces any power they may have to right wrongs or redress grievances.
That’s why I’ve called Israel a police state. Perhaps not for Israeli Jews (unless you are a “leftist,” in which case you are a “traitor” and it’s open season), but certainly for all Palestinians: not just those beyond the Green Line like these poor souls escorting Shireen Abu Aqleh’s casket; but also Israeli Palestinians. In the latter case, the police barely police their communities. They in effect let gangs and thugs take over, creating a lawless No Man’s Land rife with social unrest and violence. Yet another indication that Israel is a state meant only for Jews, with all others an afterthought, if that.
Police states need their informers and collaborators among the general population and Israel has just that: legions of hasbara warriors who frequent this site and even monitor social media. In almost military terms, they amplify their use of force by concentrating on the most egregiously damaging content and mass reporting it. As I noted in yesterday’s post, when I published a link to that post on Facebook, it did create a post in my timeline, but it refused to upload the accompanying image. So there is a blank space where the image should display. My social media publishing app, Buffer, generated an error message saying that Facebook had determined that the image was objectionable content based on “users” reporting it for being “abusive.” That is pro-Israel militants protecting the police state from accountability and suppressing the worst of its excesses.
You will see it here in comment threads, those apparently either lurking or assigned to monitor this site and post “pushback” comments aping the pro-Israel line. They don’t even bother to pretend sympathy for the dead (unless they are Israeli Jews). This is a digital war for them and there is no room for empathy or even nuance. Some even resort to name-calling, attempts to induce shame for betraying the tribe, etc. Some of those you don’t even see because I refuse to post the most offensive of this content.
Returning to the funeral, as the mourners shouted defiance the police waded into the crowd, fists and Billy clubs flying. Heads were smashed, bones broken. Worst of all, the police even assaulted the pallbearers holding aloft Shireen’s coffin. The police released their own statement full of half-truths and outright lies as obediently regurgitated by this media mouthpiece of the apartheid state:
Israeli police said late Friday that officers intervened in the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem earlier in the day after “rioters” seized her coffin at the hospital, against her family’s wishes.
Officers charged Palestinians who were holding and surrounding the casket, and beat them with batons, nearly toppling the coffin. Images of the incident sparked global shock and condemnation.
“About 300 rioters arrived at Saint Joseph hospital in Jerusalem and prevented the family members from loading the coffin onto the hearse,” police said in a statement late Friday night.
Nope, just nope. Here’s my strong conviction regarding what likely happened. When the police summoned Anton Abu Aqleh to the station, they dictated to him what would happen at the funeral. They warned him that if anything deviated from that scenario, then the police would do whatever was necessary to “restore order.” So no, the family did not request anything nor did it agree to anything. The terms were dictated by police and Anton was told to obey. Even if he did agree, it was not by volition. It was an agreement under duress at best. The police engaged in this charade for just this purpose: they could say that when they had that nice chat with that nice boy, he asked them to maintain order. And that they’re only obliging his request. This is rancid and offensive.
Now, after the pogrom they caused, the police are twisting reality like a stale pretzel, turning it into the desired shape before it crumbles into thousands of pieces. In Palestine, Israel won’t even let Palestinians die in peace. They must be subjected to the same degradation they face in life. They cannot reach their final resting place without fighting their way in the face of Israeli hatred and violence.
Le Monde has now joined the chorus of international voices demanding an independent investigation of Shireen’s murder. A common, sensible approach. While the US demands the unthinkable: that the murderers be permitted to investigate their own murder.
When will Biden get off his a* and recognize this is a powder keg that will blow up in his face. Does he want US citizens to be treated this way in Israel, Palestine and throughout the world? Does he expect that China, Russia, and other totalitarian countries won’t take notice of our indifference to the fate of our murdered citizens?
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.