White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen PsakiOfficial White House Photo by Chandler West

US officials on Friday criticized Israel after violent clashes broke out during the funeral of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh, who was killed during an exchange of gunfire between IDF troops and Palestinian Arab terrorists in Jenin earlier this week.

While the Israel Police had taken action before the funeral in an attempt to prevent clashes, hundreds of Arabs gathered at the funeral, shouted calls of incitement and later also threw rocks the police officers, who were forced to take action to disperse the rioters.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described the footage from the funeral as “deeply disturbing”.

“We have all seen those images, they’re obviously deeply disturbing. We regret the intrusion of what should have been a peaceful procession,” she told reporters.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the UN, tweeted, “Deeply distressed by the images from Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral procession. The tragedy of her killing should be handled with the utmost respect, sobriety, and care.”

Several lawmakers from the Democratic party also criticized Israel, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who earlier this week immediately blamed Israel for Abu Aqleh’s death.

“This is sickening. Violent racism, enabled by $3.8B in unconditional military U.S. funds. For the Israeli apartheid govt, Shireen's life didn't matter - and her dehumanization continues after death. State Department: condemn this horror or does being Palestinian make you less American?” she tweeted.

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted, “This is awful to watch. I’m traveling in Connecticut today, but I have my team working to get answers about what happened here.”

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) quoted Murphy and wrote, “Agree. This simply adds trauma on top of a tragedy. Need immediate accountability for these attacks on people mourning the death of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. And her killer must be brought to justice.”

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides wrote after Abu Aqleh’s death that he held American citizenship, and called for a “thorough investigation” into her death.

While it remains unclear whether Abu Aqleh was killed from Israeli or Palestinian Arab gunfire, Palestinian Arab officials have been quick to blame Israel for her death.

On Thursday, top PA official Hussein Al-Sheikh announced that the Palestinians have rejected the Israeli request to hold a joint investigation into the death of Abu Aqleh.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)