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Tutu trust condemns Israeli attack on Shireen Abu Akleh mourners

Palestinian mourners wave national flags as they carry the coffin of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, during her funeral procession. Picture: Ahmad Gharabli

Palestinian mourners wave national flags as they carry the coffin of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, during her funeral procession. Picture: Ahmad Gharabli

Published May 14, 2022

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The Archbishop Desmond IP Trust has spoken out against members of the Israeli security forces who were seen attacking pallbearers and mourners before the funeral of veteran Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh on Saturday.

Abu Akleh was killed on Wednesday while covering an Israeli army raid in Jenin on Wednesday.

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CCTV footage which has gone viral shows when the mourners gathered to pay their respects at the funeral procession, Israeli riot police started assaulting the people carrying her coffin.

In the video of the attack, crowds can be seen scattering as the security forces started beating the pallbearers.

The pallbearers are then seen rushing to get the body inside the church. When the attack first hit the crowd, the pallbearers had nearly dropped the coffin.

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The Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust said in a statement that the attack at the funeral of the slain journalist in Jerusalem was, “chillingly reminiscent of the brutality meted out to mourners at the funeral of anti-apartheid activists in South Africa during our struggle for freedom.

“The violence, sense of hatred and disregard of human dignity it conveyed betrays the ongoing lack of comprehension among world leaders (from Israel to Russia to Myanmar to Mali) of the facts of our human interdependence in a global village of division, fragile security and questionable sustainability.”

The statement said that Archbishop Tutu shared the lesson that the perpetrators of violence might think they were advancing their goals, but instead they were undermining their own humanity and integrity.

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“They may not comprehend it at the moment, but the greatest victims of violence are the perpetrators themselves.”

“Human beings are wired to be interconnected and interdependent, any violation of the rights and dignity of others violates our own.”

The statement shared a quote from Tutu that said: “Violence begets violence and hatred, that only begets more violence and hatred.”

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Chairperson of the Archbishop Tutu Trust, Dr Mamphela Ramphele. said South Africans are familiar with violence and hatred.

“Our country understands the pain of being the polecat of the world; when it seemed at the time that nobody understood or was even willing to listen to the perspective of the then white establishment. Our country comes from a very painful place,” she said.

Ramphele said Abu Akleh was not a terrorist.

“She was an American citizen and journalist, one of the few who had the courage to cover events from a Palestinian perspective,” she said.

She added: “Members of the Israeli security forces were responsible for her murder."

"To further inflame the situation by attacking her funeral cortege is like seeking to extinguish righteous flames with a can of petrol.”

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