Tragically, in the midst of the cross fire, a veteran Al Jazeera journalist was struck in the head by a bullet while covering the clash. Born in Jerusalem and a practising Catholic, Shireen Abu Akleh spent time in the United States as a child and held US citizenship along with her Jerusalem residency card. Over the last few decades, she has become a respected voice in the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera media outlet. Despite a conspicuous lack of information as to the unfolding of events, both local and international media opened the floodgates and rushed to condemn the IDF for Abu Akleh’s death. We saw headlines such as:
The assassination of Journalist Abu Akleh
The crime of executing Abu Akleh
Israel’s violent assassination.
Al Jazeera said Abu Akleh was shot “deliberately” and “in cold blood” by Israeli troops.
Rashida Tlaib, the American congresswoman said Israel murdered the Al Jazeera correspondent.
The question of who fired the bullet, remains unanswered, not helped by the refusal of the Palestinian authority to hand over the all important bullet, demanding an international investigation instead. Whether Abu Akleh was killed by indiscriminate crossfire from either the Palestinians or the Israel Defense forces, the swiftness of the International media to pin all of the blame upon Israel is astonishing.
On that particular operation in Jenin, no terrorists were in fact killed, and the IDF had nothing to gain by purposely targeting journalist.
A few days after the death of the journalist, her funeral was held in Jerusalem, where her casket was carried from a hospital to a Catholic hurch near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. Across the world footage was shown of Israeli policemen supposedly beating those in the funeral procession, and causing the casket to almost fall to the ground. This drew widespread condemnation, with the Whitehouse saying they were ‘deeply disturbed’, and the European Union saying it was ‘appalled’.
The lesser reported side of the story was as Arutz Sheva wrote, that:
“The Israel Police said on Friday that Arab rioters took the casket of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh against the wishes of her family during Friday’s funeral, forcing the officers to intervene.“Plans for the funeral procession of Shireen Abu-Akleh were coordinated in advance by the Israel Police together with the Abu-Akleh family,” the Israel Police Spokesperson said in an English-language statement.“On Friday, about 300 rioters arrived at Saint Joseph hospital in Jerusalem and prevented the family members from loading the coffin onto the hearse to travel to the cemetery – as had been planned and coordinated with the family in advance. Instead, the mob threatened the driver of the hearse and then proceeded to carry the coffin on an unplanned procession to the cemetery by foot.
Once again, the speed of the media and the international community to condemn Israel is concerning, but a remarkable part of the biblical picture painted about the last days.
By coincidence, I happened to be in Israel at the time of the shooting and as the funeral was taking place in Jerusalem. On the day of the funeral, we were coming back from the climbing the Mount of Olives and noticed that the streets of the Old City were rather crowded, and everything seemed a bit tense. When we reached the Jaffa gate, stumbled across the funeral of Abu Akleh in full swing. The police appeared to be making efforts to stop the crowd getting out of control, and the only violence we saw were a group of young Palestinians, attacking an Israeli police horse.
Perhaps the most bizarre thing was seeing a cross and other Christian symbols right in the thick of the crowd. Although this makes sense because Abu Akleh was a Christian herself, it is remarkable to see how the Catholic Church tends to ride the momentum of an anti-jewish atmosphere, as if history is once again repeating itself, even if in a minimal way on this occasion.
It also struck us how uniting the hatred of Israel can be, since there isn’t much that the Catholic Church and Islam have in common! As the saying goes, nothing unites the members of the UN more, than a motion to censor Israel.
We read throughout the prophets about the ‘old hatred’ that will eventually gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle. Today we see the narrative war that is being waged against Israel, particularly in the western media, playing its part in God’s purpose. It is not difficult to imagine the nations uniting and taking action against God’s people, as we read in the prophets.
We wait for the day when Christ will return to resolve the controversy of Zion once and for all, when the Jewish people will become the head of the nations and not the tail. This has been Daniel Blackburn joining you for this week’s edition of Bible in the News.