A Year Since Shireen Abu Akleh’s Killing

Justice for the Al Jazeera journalist — so far delayed — would serve press freedom in the occupied territories, where at least 20 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces in the last two decades.

Shireen Abu Akleh, undated. (Al Jazeera Media Network – Al Jazeera Media Network, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By  Peoples Dispatch

A year has passed since senior Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by the Israeli security forces, but the fight for justice continues as no one has been held accountable for the crime.

Justice in Akleh’s case is significant both for freedom of the press in the occupied Palestinian territories and for ending Israeli impunity in crimes against Palestinians. 

Akleh and her colleagues were covering a raid by the occupying Israeli forces on a refugee camp in Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank when they were attacked. Akleh was shot in the head and her colleague Ali al-Samoudi was injured in the attack but later recovered. 

Both were fired upon despite wearing press vests, clearly identifying them as journalists.

Immediately after she was killed, Israeli officials claimed that she was killed by Palestinian fighters during crossfire with Israeli forces. However, Israel was quickly forced to retract the claim after Israeli human rights group B’Tselem published an investigative video debunking it.

On May 20, 2022, they announced that Israeli military police criminal investigation division would not investigate the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist, reportedly over fears that the investigation may demoralize the Israeli army which operates “under caution” and create controversy in Israeli society.

Belated Admission 

In September 2022, Israel finally admitted that Akleh may have died in accidental fire caused by an Israeli soldier, but refused to hold anyone accountable. 

Meanwhile numerous independent investigations by international and Palestinian human rights organizations were carried out which established that Akleh was unequivocally targeted by the Israeli forces and that her killing was intentional

During her funeral procession in the occupied West Bank held days after her murder, Israeli forces attacked mourners and charged at people who were carrying her coffin, almost making it fall to the ground. No one has been charged for this attack either. 

The attack on the funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh in May 2022. (Osama Eid/Flickr, Public domain)

Akleh’s family, her colleagues, and the world community are still hoping that Israel will be held accountable for these crimes. On Sunday, May 7, her niece Lina Abu Akleh told Al-Jazeera during a memorial mass that they are “still fighting for justice.” 

Fight Against Israeli Impunity 

Justice for Akleh can open the doors to end Israeli impunity and establish freedom of the press in the occupied territories, where at least 20 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces in the last two decades, and at least 16 others have been jailed.

Although Akleh is a U.S. citizen, Washington has been reluctant to intervene in any meaningful way to seek justice in her case. It initially gave a clean chit to Israel by blindly relying on its version of Akleh’s death being accidental. Her family responded by saying that the U.S. was “insulting” her memory. 

Only after pressure from Akleh’s family, her colleagues, and others, did the Biden administration initiate an F.B.I. inquiry in November, almost seven months after her killing. That investigation is also dragging, with no public information of any progress made so far. 

Israel has already refused to cooperate with the inquiry. Then-Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz had called the U.S. decision to start an F.B.I. inquiry “a grave mistake” constituting external intervention in Israel’s domestic affairs.

Shireen Abu Akleh graffiti on the West Bank barrier in Bethlehem. (Dan Palraz, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

In fact, Israel has never held its security forces accountable for killing journalists in the occupied territories. Even if an investigation is carried out, there is no guarantee anyone would ever be punished.

As Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said, “no one should expect that they [Israel] will deliver justice to Palestinians.” The group also stated that instead of carrying out a meaningful investigation, Israel only whitewashes the crimes of its armed forces.

In a report issued just before the anniversary of Akleh’s killing, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) confirmed the claims made by B’Tselem. According to its report, Israeli armed forces have killed at least 20 journalists inside the occupied Palestinian territories since 2001, including Akleh, but so far no investigation has held a single Israeli responsible for any of those killings.

Akleh’s family, the Palestinian Authority,  Al-Jazeera, and others have formally requested, or backed, an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into her killing.  

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.  

The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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9 comments for “A Year Since Shireen Abu Akleh’s Killing

  1. CaseyG
    May 12, 2023 at 14:28

    So America—-hmmm Rachel Corrie, Shireen, the boy in the flotilla ( whose name I do not know) who was killed in INTERNATIONAL waters by Israel——-

    Considering how much money the US has given Israel—no matter how horrific the crimes of Israel—-America seems to overlook all that Israeli horror. Maybe it’s time. after all these years to cut off Israel—-at 75 years old, why does this nation STILL RECEIVE so many trillions from America?

    Biden and Blinken—–since the GOP do seems to want to turn the majority of Americans into serfs—-WHY do the evil actions of Israel rate higher than the needs actual America citizens?

  2. Em
    May 12, 2023 at 10:31

    If in fact, international Judeophobia is once again on the rise, it’s time for the State of Israel to recognize its own barbaric hand in the mistreatment of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs for all of the past three-quarters of a century – and its ongoing genocidal attempts of this populace, throughout these years; ever since the incursion and establishment of an Apartheid-like Jews’ only state – as one of the primal causes, then this is it!

  3. Tony
    May 12, 2023 at 09:07

    Be sure to check out Al-Jazeera’s ‘The Labour Files’ investigation into the party led by Keir Starmer. It has been to totally ignored by the corporate media in Britain.

    • Valerie
      May 12, 2023 at 12:28

      There are many “inconvenient” truths ignored by MSM UK.

  4. Valerie
    May 12, 2023 at 05:53

    A new voice for the Palestinians:

    “Israel treats the Palestinian territories as its colonies, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories has said on her first visit to London since her appointment last year.

    Francesca Albanese, an Italian lawyer and human rights academic, has faced calls to resign by Israeli government ministers, such as Amichai Chikli, who accused her of “spewing hatred and antisemitism”, and Zionist groups have described her as biased.”
    (From an article in today’s Guardian)

    Who is free to criticize Israel?

  5. May 11, 2023 at 18:42

    Would that the untimely deaths of any journalists under suspicious circumstances, be they Shireen Abu Akleh, Anna Politkovskaya, Serena Shim, Marie Colvin, or Danny Casolaro, or the state-sponsored persecution thereof, be they Evan Gershkovich or Julian Assange, would be taken equally seriously by people claiming to be advocates for press freedoms and the Fourth Estate!

    • RWilson
      May 11, 2023 at 21:23

      Fully agree!

      On anniversary of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, new report details Israel’s history of killing reporters with impunity

  6. Valerie
    May 11, 2023 at 15:07

    From the article:

    “Defense Minister Benny Gantz had called the U.S. decision to start an F.B.I. inquiry “a grave mistake” constituting external intervention in Israel’s domestic affairs.”

    Ha. I bet he doesn’t call the $3.3 billion military aid given by the US “external intervention”.

  7. Drew Hunkins
    May 11, 2023 at 14:21

    Let’s face it — the paranoid sadistic racist and hegemonic Israelis can do whatever the heck they want with impunity!

Comments are closed.