A May 13th Guardian article avoids even the pretense of objectivity by completely omiting evidence of Palestinian violence at the funeral in Jerusalem on Friday for al-Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Aqleh, and failing to provide readers with Israel’s side of the story.
The piece, written by the Guardian’s US weekend editor Ramon Antonio Vargas, employs a headline (“US condemns Israel’s attack on Shireen Abu Aqleh’s funeral”) that, like many media outlets, frames what occurred as an Israeli “attack” of a funeral procession. In the text of the article, Vargas actually describes events as an Israeli “storming” of the funeral procession. Such tendentious and misleading language suggests thuggish, unprovoked Israeli violence on mourners, whilst obfuscating the fact that police were responding to Palestinian violence when they began using force – a clash which lasted about a minute.
Here’s how Vargas describes events:
Dozens of Palestinians were packed around the coffin, some waving Palestinian flags and chanting, “with our soul and blood we will redeem you Shireen”.
When they began walking toward the gates of St Joseph’s hospital, Israeli police officers, in an apparent attempt to stop them proceeding by foot rather than taking the coffin by car, burst through the courtyard gates and charged at the crowd. Some beat pallbearers with batons and kicked them.
At one point the group carrying her coffin backed against a wall and almost dropped the casket, recovering it just before one end hit the ground as stun grenades detonated.
The show of force came after people circumvented roadblocks in occupied East Jerusalem to join the slain Al Jazeera reporter’s funeral procession. Mourners chanted “Palestine!”, sang the Palestinian national anthem and waved Palestinian flags before Israeli police cracked down on the procession, accusing participants of disrupting public order.
However, detailed accounts, by reporters on the scene, published in the Washington Post and other outlets, official statements by Israeli police and video footage paint a completely different picture from what the Guardian is trying to sell.
First, here’s the account by Israeli police, who had coordinated the funeral procession with the family of Shireen Abu Aqleh beforehand:
This footage corroborates that the stone throwing at police began prior to their charge:
Rioters hiding near and under the coffin after throwing stones and other objects at Israel Police officers in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/SpnxM0uLre
— Israel Police (@israelpolice) May 13, 2022
This clip shows, in a fuller timeline, the throwing of objects at police, again, prior to the police charge:
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) May 13, 2022
Finally, this video, taken from a different angle, by Liran Tamari, a police affairs and legal reporter for Ynet, shows glass bottles being thrown (the sound of shattering glass can be heard).
תיעוד שצילמתי מאתמול, שניות לאחר כניסת הכוחות לבית החולים ממנו יצא מסע הלוויה של העיתונאית שירין אבו עאקלה. אבנים, בקבוקי זכוכית וחפצים לעבר השוטרים. כך זה נראה pic.twitter.com/GcMrNbluEE
— לירן תמרי | Liran Tamari (@liran__tamari) May 14, 2022
Tellingly, the Guardian is the only mainstream outlet covering the funeral clashes we’ve seen that completely omitted the Palestinian violence that, again, preceded actions by Israeli police, and we’ve complained to editors asking that they amend the article accordingly.