Israeli forces kill 25 Palestinians, as we reach the anniversary of them killing journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
Israel’s army have been bombing Palestinians with another escalation of violence. Strikes have killed 25 people in the blockaded Palestinian enclave. Israeli forces have killed rebels as well as civilians, including several children. Palestinian rebels in the Gaza Strip have fired more than 500 rockets at Israel, causing no casualties so far.
The Arab League has condemned what it called:
barbaric Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip, which targeted civilians, children and women in residential neighbourhoods.
The latest escalation of violence from Israel comes on the one year anniversary of Israeli forces’ killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. As remembrances have been pouring in, so too has horror at the renewed violence in Gaza.
Lack of investigation
As the Canary reported a year ago, Israeli forces shot Shireen while she was reporting on a raid they were carrying out. Journalist Lina Alsaafin wrote at the time:
At 6:30am, a vehicle carrying a group of journalists arrived at the first roundabout in Jenin refugee camp. They were there to cover an Israeli raid on the camp, and a number of Israeli snipers were stationed on rooftops… Akleh got out of the vehicle, wearing a helmet and a flak jacket clearly marked with PRESS. An Israeli sniper shot her, hitting just below her ear. She fell near a wall, and the shooting continued, hindering other journos from reaching her. Her colleague, Ali al-Samoudi, was also shot in the back. They were both transferred to Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin, and her death was announced there.
Incredibly, Israeli forces then also attacked her funeral. One year on, Al Jazeera, which Shireen worked for, reported on the lack of action to investigate her death. Federica Marsi wrote:
Al Jazeera Media Network submitted a formal request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute those responsible for shooting the veteran journalist on May 11, as she was covering an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in Jenin.
Marsi described the masses of evidence Al Jazeera provided:
Evidence provided in the request, filed in December 2022, includes a comprehensive six-month investigation by the network, gathering witness accounts and video footage, among other material.
So, what has the ICC done with this information? Nothing. Marsi wrote:
The ICC has acknowledged its receipt, yet no further steps have been taken. Attacks intentionally targeting journalists, as civilians, constitute war crimes.
Freedom of the press
Shireen’s murder should have sent shockwaves around the world. Here was a veteran journalist, shot whilst at work. However, since her death there hasn’t been much in the way of official investigation. Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans Frontières, RSF) has condemned this lack of official investigation. Head of RSF’s Middle East desk Jonathan Dagher said:
When there is a will there is a way. Although all the investigations clearly show that Israeli forces were responsible for Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, the absence of political will still prevents justice from being rendered. The systematic Israeli impunity is outrageous and cannot continue.
In fact, an RSF investigation found out that Israeli forces have continued to target Palestinian journalists. It found that:
In the space of a week, from 4 to 10 April, nine Palestinian journalists were hit by teargas grenades or had teargas fired at them, while eight others were deliberately prevented from reporting.
Dagher again urged accountability:
The international community cannot keep turning a blind eye to these flagrant press freedom violations.
Walid Al-Omari, Al Jazeera‘s bureau chief in Jerusalem and Ramallah said:
When we say justice for Shireen, we mean first that the killers and those behind them should be held accountable. Secondly, protection should be provided to journalists in general, Al Jazeera’s journalists, and the Palestinians. Third, because we do not want the new, rising generation to lose faith in international legitimacy and international justice.
Israel’s murder of Shireen is a travesty. The lack of any official investigation from international communities is abhorrent, but expected. Al Jazeera columnist Andrew Mitrovica aptly explained how many within the media have failed to stand by their colleague, and have purposely forgotten her death. Shireen Abu Akleh was – and still is – a household name for many seeking out coverage of Israel’s apartheid.
Imagine then, how it must feel for her loved ones that there is still institutional and media silence over her murder. Of the 25 people who Israeli forces have most recently killed, how many of them will be remembered? Institutions and media hold much power in who we remember, and who we grieve. That’s exactly why it’s vitally important that people remember Shireen, that we remember all Palestinians being killed by an apartheid regime. Anything else would be to turn away from a grave injustice.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
Featured image via YouTube screenshot/Al Jazeera English
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