Brett Wilkins human rights

US Groups Demand Full Probe After Israeli Forces Kill Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Noting Israel's "long history of targeting journalists" one Palestinian rights advocate called on the FBI to launch an independent investigation into the Al Jazeera correspondent's death.
Palestinians protest the death of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead by Israeli forces while covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the illegally occupied West Bank on May 11, 2022. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/ AFP via Getty Images)

By Brett Wilkins / Common Dreams

Human rights advocates on Wednesday called for a thorough and transparent investigation after Al Jazeera and witnesses said Israeli forces shot and killed one of the network’s reporters while she was at work.

Shireen Abu Akleh, a well-known 51-year-old Palestinian-American correspondent, was wearing a helmet and press jacket that clearly identified her as a journalist when Israeli forces shot her in the face as she covered an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the illegally occupied West Bank of Palestine. Another Palestinian journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was shot in the back but is reportedly in stable condition.

While Israeli officials falsely claimed Palestinian militants shot Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera condemned her killing as “blatant murder.”

Citing the IDF’s deadly history of targeting journalists during wars, invasions, and other military operations in Palestine, the women-led peace group CodePink demanded an “immediate suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel and a thorough and impartial investigation of Shireen’s murder.”

The U.S. gives Israel, one of the world’s wealthiest nations per capita, around $3.8 billion in unconditional annual military aid, despite being classified an apartheid state by prominent international and Israeli officials and organizations.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in s statement that “throughout this year, the Israeli apartheid government has been launching increasingly violent attacks on reporters, worshippers, paramedics, and protesters.”

“Israeli forces also have a long history of targeting journalists, even bombing the Gaza headquarters of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera last year,” he continued. “Our nation’s muted reaction has emboldened this violence. Enough is enough.”

“These war crimes must end, and President [Joe] Biden is the only world leader with the influence to end them,” Awad added. “President Biden should immediately call for a complete end to Israeli attacks on Palestinian territory and direct the FBI to launch an independent investigation into Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder.”

The White House on Wednesday afternoon “strongly” condemned Abu Akleh’s killing while calling “for a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances of her death.”

Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement that Abu Akleh’s killing is “a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which Israel locks Palestinians. Israel is killing Palestinians left and right with impunity. How many more need to be killed before the international community acts to hold Israel accountable for the continuing crimes against humanity?”

“States around the world have a moral and legal responsibility to take immediate action to put an end to the continuing crimes perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians to maintain the calamity of apartheid,” Hijazi added. “The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court should set the course for justice, truth, and reparation to end the impunity that encourages these ongoing crimes.”

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) issued a statement hailing Abu Akleh as “an iconic voice that covered the occupation for over 20 years” whose “name resonates in every Palestinian home, globally.”

“We remember Shireen and the many other Palestinian journalists that put their lives on the line to combat the censorship Western media routinely propagates when covering the occupation,” the group continued. “We remember the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid, suffering from forced evictions, ethnic cleansing, and lack of basic human rights.”

ADC urged the Biden administration to conduct a “full, independent, and international investigation into the assassination of Shireen.”

“Complete transparency and full accountability for this war crime against an American citizen is necessary,” the group added. “Additionally, as Americans we call on the U.S. government to stop all military aid to Israel, who uses our tax dollars to perpetrate these atrocities. Now is the time to put pressure on the Israeli government and stand up for Palestinian human rights.”

Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

21 comments

  1. Well, they say, $20 million a day to Israel, from United States of Israel, but that number is, well, a scam. MUCH more blood money to the rich little apartheid outfit.

    https://youtu.be/pWRRAvr0V1s

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s major sources of instability. Americans are directly connected to this conflict, and increasingly imperiled by its devastation.

    Oh, read on and on:

    In the late 1800s a group in Europe decided to colonize this land. Known as Zionists, they represented an extremist minority of the Jewish population. Their goal was to create a Jewish homeland, and they considered locations in Africa and the Americas, before settling on Palestine.

    At first, this immigration created no problems. However, as more and more Zionists immigrated to Palestine – many with the express wish of taking over the land for a Jewish state – the indigenous population became increasingly alarmed. Eventually, fighting broke out, with escalating waves of violence. Hitler’s rise to power, combined with Zionist activities to sabotage efforts to place Jewish refugees in western countries, led to increased Jewish immigration to Palestine, and conflict grew.

    UN Partition Plan

    Finally, in 1947 the United Nations decided to intervene. However, rather than adhering to the principle of “self-determination of peoples,” in which the people themselves create their own state and system of government, the UN chose to revert to the medieval strategy whereby an outside power divides up other people’s land.

    Under considerable Zionist pressure, the UN recommended giving away 55% of Palestine to a Jewish state – despite the fact that this group represented only about 30% of the total population, and owned under 7% of the land.

  2. The other issue with this lie is that Shirin and another journalist were ducking behind a wall and were in clear line of sight of the Israeli soldiers who chose to ignore their press vests, and chose to ignore humanity (if they had any humanity to start with), and decided to take aim with the sniper scope and fire.

    Every journalist who was there, every witness, knows and saw how the area was calm, no protests, no exchanges of fire, nothing, just calm, calm that preceded the storm which started after the soldiers decided to take aim and kill her.

    Ali Sammoudi, who was the first to be shot and injured before the army decided to execute Shirin, described the Israeli allegations as total lies.

    “There was calm in the area where we stopped, our press vests and equipment and our presence clearly identified us as journalists. There were no Palestinian fighters, not even protesters throwing stones, and then Shirin collapsed and began bleeding heavily when the Israeli army sniper shot her in the head.” Sammoudi added.

    It is as simple and as horrific as it sounds, and what might be even worse is that Israel, its politicians, and soldiers, know too well that the worst that will happen will be condemnations, nothing else, no sanctions, no accountability, and above all the ever-present American Veto to protect and shield it from prosecution, and a constant flow of billions of dollars in American aid to Israel and its racist, criminal occupation.

    Shirin is not the first journalist to be murdered by Israel, not the first to be injured, and unfortunately, and as much it saddens me to say, she won’t be the last.

    Shirin lived for the truth, justice, and the freedom of the press.

    One of her most recent words in a spontaneous interview on the steps of Bab al-Amoud in occupied Jerusalem sums up her humanity: “I am the daughter of Jerusalem, and I love seeing it happy.”

    https://imemc.org/article/the-execution-of-shirin-yet-another-journalist-gunned-down-by-israeli-soldiers/

  3. Islam will continue hate , misogeny, the carnal slave/sex trade, terrorism which should be brought to justice, but the believers in satan never think they are wrong

      1. EXACTLY!!! WHAT WHAT WHAT?????????????????????????????????????????????

  4. A sincere touch of blind faith Naivety!
    “ADC urged the Biden administration to conduct” … “a full, independent, and international investigation into the assassination of Shireen.”
    “Complete transparency and full accountability for this war crime against an American citizen is necessary,” the group added. “Additionally, as Americans we call on the U.S. government to stop all military aid to Israel, who uses our tax dollars to perpetrate these atrocities. Now is the time to put pressure on the Israeli government and stand up for Palestinian human rights.”
    An Aside, if it please the American courtiers:
    And so, another immediate $40 billion to aid the Ukrainian people in dying as proxy for the U.S. on the ground, for yet another of Americas attempts to destroy the nation of Russia.
    But what of the long suffering Palestinians?
    War itself is the crime of all the illegitimately’ legalized’ murders committed in the name of ‘world order’ peace, and following the rules of the ultimate political whore!
    Israel is the resultant aftermath.
    Yet already ‘Ukraine’ authorities are investigating individual Russian soldiers, for war crimes; in the midst of the raging battle; with the unstinting support offered by the Western (read American lead) propaganda machine, for the crimes of yet another war it instigated. They themselves said they set a trap for Russia!
    This is Just us!
    The way we humanely lead by example?
    Think here of transparent journalism of truth, freedom of the press, democracy… and most of all, in this context, of Julian Assange.
    Israel too, has learned all too well from its mother of wars, going back more than three-quarters of a century to its very conception.
    With regard to shifting of the blame, Ukraine can be considered a neophyte blind man, in the buff.

  5. She joins the too long list of journalists who report truth and are assassinated for it. Gary Webb comes to mind; not as direct but suicide by shooting himself TWICE in the head while covering the CIA bringing drugs into LA. Very corrupt world we live in. Some say we’ve always been in a state of war, but it was never like this. Nor was there an “opportunity” for one country to control the world and its resources with its military might. Sick and sick again. And if mass sixth extinction happens, good riddance. We need to start over.

    1. Agree with main the sentiments in your comment, but where does “We need to start over” come from?
      Cognitive dissonance is a persons attempt to reduce … discomfort and restore emotional balance.
      It is a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance. (Wikipedia)
      “And if mass sixth extinction happens, good riddance. We need to start over.”
      Is this belief in the possibility of starting over not an irrational belief that somehow reduces individuals’ discomfort?
      Is this not why many people are unwilling to recognize the precarious situation humanity is facing today, with the very real threat of Nuclear annihilation looming just around the corner; nearer even than the more distant possibility of climate change extinction of all animate life on the planet?

  6. No one in this country has the courage to stand up to Israel. One of the greatest weapons the Zionists have is the (a) holocaust, a political statement masquerading as a humanitarian one. Any criticism of Jews is signal to drag this period up. You’re anti-semitic if you do. I understand 37 US states have passed laws against being critical of Israel. AIPAC calls the shots in our congress. A vote against Israel could force a congressman or senator out of a job. The media will close you down if you try to inform our citizenry. 49 of our sailors died from the Israeli attack of the USS Liberty during the 1966 war. It was quashed because it would have embarrassed Israel. Captain McGonagle, the skipper of the vessel was awarded the congressional Medal of Honor. However, our government had to get permission from Israel to do so. And he received it at a navy yard instead of the White House as is custom.

  7. Roots, man, roots of Nazism, err, Zionism, err Judaism?

    A month after the Nazi pogrom against Germany’s Jews, famously known as Kristallnacht, Ben-Gurion provided an interesting mathematical formula for saving German Jewish kids. He stated in December 1938:

    “If I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael, I would choose the latter—-because we are faced not only with the accounting of these [Jewish] children but also with the historical accounting of the Jewish People.” (Righteous Victims, p. 162)

  8. Dirty dealings, dirty country (sic), “Israel”:

    Shireen Abu Akleh was executed to send a message to Palestinians: During 20 years of reporting on Israel and Palestine, I learned first-hand that Israel’s version of events around the deaths of Palestinians or foreigners can never be trusted

    by Jonathan Cook / May 13th, 2022

    The execution of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by an Israeli soldier in the Palestinian city of Jenin, along with Israel‘s immediate efforts to muddy the waters about who was responsible and the feeble expressions of concern from western capitals, brought memories flooding back from 20 years of reporting from the region.

    Unlike Abu Akleh, I found myself far less often on the front lines in the occupied territories. I was not a war correspondent, and when I ended up close to the action it was invariably by accident – such as when, also in Jenin, my Palestinian taxi turned into a street only to find ourselves staring down the barrel of an Israeli tank. Judging by the speed and skill with which my driver navigated in reverse, it was not his first time dealing with that kind of roadblock.

    Abu Akleh reported on far too many killings of Palestinians not to have known the risks she faced as a journalist every time she donned a flak jacket. It was a kind of nerve I did not share.

    According to a recent report by Reporters Without Borders, at least 144 Palestinian journalists have been wounded by Israeli forces in the occupied territories since 2018. Three, including Abu Akleh, have been killed in the same period.

  9. Cook:

    Palestinians are rightly suspicious that the bullet hole just below the edge of her metal helmet was not a one-in-a-million chance event. It looked like a precision shot intended to kill her – the reason why Palestinian officials are calling her death “deliberate”.

    For as long as I can remember, Israel has been trying to find pretexts to shut down Al Jazeera’s coverage, often by banning its reporters or denying them press passes. Infamously, last May, it bombed a tower block in Gaza that housed the station’s offices.

    Indeed, Abu Akleh was most likely shot precisely because she was a high-profile Al Jazeera reporter, known for her fearless reporting of Israeli crimes. Both the army and its soldiers bear grudges, and they have lethal weapons with which to settle scores.

  10. Send in the clowns, the ZioLensky’s, oh, “If I was a Rothschild, la-lala-la-la!”

    The “friendly fire” defence is straight out of the playbook Israel uses whenever it cannot resort to its preferred retrospective rationalisation for killing Palestinians: that they were armed and “posed an immediate danger to soldiers”.

    That was a lesson I learned in my first months in the region. I arrived in 2001 to investigate events during the first days of the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, when Israeli police killed 13 protesters. Those killings, unlike parallel events taking place in the occupied territories, targeted members of a large Palestinian minority that lives inside Israel and has a very inferior citizenship.

    At the outbreak of the Intifada in late 2000, Palestinian citizens had taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers to protest the Israeli army’s killing of their compatriots in the occupied territories.

    They were enraged, in particular, by footage from Gaza captured by France 2 TV. It showed a father desperately trying to shield his 12-year-old son, Muhammad al-Durrah, as they were trapped by Israeli gunfire at a road intersection. Muhammad was killed and his father, Jamal, seriously wounded.

  11. Oh, the dirty rotten chosen people, lawyering up, the rhetorical accumen, the blatant lies, but with glee . . . a new punk band song? . . . .

    Cook:

    Police stood alongside the invaders, watched over by Israeli snipers positioned atop a tall building in Upper Nazareth, facing Nazareth residents massed below.

    The police insisted that the Palestinians leave first. Faced with so many weapons, the crowds from Nazareth eventually relented and headed back home. At that point, police snipers opened fire, shooting several men in the back. Two, who were hit in the head, were killed instantly.

    Those executions were witnessed by the hundreds of Palestinians there, as well as by police and by all those who had tried to invade Nazareth. And yet, the official police story ignored the sequence of events. Police said the fact that the two Palestinian men had been shot in the back of the head was proof they had been killed by other Palestinians, not police snipers.

    Commanders claimed, without producing any evidence or conducting a forensic investigation, that Palestinian gunmen had been hiding behind the men and shot them by mistake while aiming for police. It was a blatant lie, but one that the authorities held to through a subsequent judicial-led inquiry.

  12. Oh, “Israel,” sniper incorporated. Cook:

    Taught a lesson

    Abu Akleh was one of a small number of Palestinians from the occupied territories who have American citizenship. That, and her fame in the Arab world, are two reasons why officials in Washington felt duty-bound to express sadness at her killing and issue a formulaic call for a “thorough investigation”.

    But Abu Akleh’s US passport was no more able to save her from Israeli retribution than that of Rachel Corrie, murdered in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer driver as she tried to protect Palestinian homes in Gaza. Similarly, Tom Hurndall’s British passport did not stop him from being shot in the head as he tried to protect Palestinian children in Gaza from Israeli gunfire. Nor did filmmaker James Miller’s British passport prevent an Israeli soldier from executing him in 2003 in Gaza, as he documented Israel’s assault on the tiny, overcrowded enclave.

    All were seen as having taken a side by acting as witnesses and by refusing to remain quiet as Palestinians suffered – and for that reason, they and those who thought like them had to be taught a lesson.

    It worked. Soon, the contingent of foreign volunteers – those who had come to Palestine to record Israel’s atrocities and serve, when necessary, as human shields to protect Palestinians from a trigger-happy Israeli army – were gone. Israel denounced the International Solidarity Movement for supporting terrorism, and given the clear threat to their lives, the pool of volunteers gradually dried up.

    The executions – whether committed by hot-headed soldiers or approved by the army – served their purpose once again.

  13. The country (sic) that even disturbs you when you are dead:

    ook,

    The UN was obliged to carry out a detailed investigation into Hook’s killing. Abu Akleh’s loved ones will be unlikely to have the same advantage. In fact, Israeli police made a point of “raiding” her home in occupied East Jerusalem to disrupt the family’s mourning, demanding that a Palestinian flag be taken down. Another message sent.

    Israel is already insisting on access to the forensic evidence – as though a murderer has a right to be the one to investigate his own crime.

    But in fact, even in Hook’s case, the UN investigation was quietly shelved. Accusing Israel of executing a UN official would have forced the international body into a dangerous confrontation both with Israel and with the United States. Hook’s killing was hushed up, and no one was brought to book.

    Nothing better can be expected for Abu Akleh. There will be noises about an investigation. Israel will blame the Palestinian Authority for not cooperating, as it is already doing. Washington will express tepid concern but do nothing. Behind the scenes, the US will help Israel block any meaningful investigation.

  14. This, friends, is the state of Israel —

    Ben-Gurion referred to the Moroccan Jews as “savages,” but hastily added that they were no different from other Jews as the Polish ones. He said:

    “They tell me that there are thieves among them. I am a Polish Jew, and I doubt if there is any Jewish community which has more thieves among them. I am doubtful if there is any Jewish community which has more thieves in it than the Polish ones.” A few years later Ben-Gurion wrote to Justice Moshe Estzioni: “An Ashkenazi gangster, thief, pimp, or murderer will not gain the sympathy of the Ashkenazi community (if there is such a thing), nor will he expect it. But in such a primitive community as the Moroccans’—such a thing is possible. . . . ” (1949, The First Israelis, p. 157)

  15. Oh, that Jewish homeland (sic):

    During a political consultation with Ben-Gurion in 1949, David Horowitz (then General Director of the Ministry of Finance and subsequently the President of the Bank of Israel) expressed his opinion of the North African Jews status in the “Jewish state,” he stated:

    “The [North African Jewish] population in [transit] camps is becoming a sort of a second nation, a rebellions nation which views us as plutocrats. This is incendiary material, eminently useful to Herut [later evolved into Likud] and the Communists. It’s dynamite. . . . The immigrants are in some ways taking the place of the [Palestinian] Arabs. There is also special attitude emerging on our part toward them, we are beginning to harbor an attitude of superiority.” (1949, The First Israelis, p. 161)

    A report sent by a Jewish Agency emissary, H. Tzvilie, in Libya described the Jews he met there as if he were trading horses, he wrote:

    “They are handsome as far as their physique and outward appearance are concerned, but I found it very difficult to tell them from the good Arab type.” (1949, The First Israelis, p. 170)

    Often the Arab Jews were looked at for cheap labor “human material” in the “Jewish state,” who would eventually replace the Palestinian workers who were ethnically cleansed during the 1948 war. In a secret record, Berl Locker (Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive) wrote the American-Jewish politician, Henry Morgenthau, in October 1948:

    “In our opinion the Sephradi and Yemenite Jews will play a considerable part in the building of the country. We have to bring them over in order to save them, but also to obtain the human material needed for building the country.”v(1949, The First Israelis, p. 172)

  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB30U7IT_1o

    Richard Medhurst, journalist, expresses the only appropriate sentiments when factually reporting the situation as it is, regarding the depths of depravity to which the self-ascribed, supposedly democratic Israeli Jewish state, has sunk in its inhuman bestiality.

  17. Quoting ….. “It was another painful week in Palestine. On Wednesday, Shireen Abu Akleh, a venerable Palestinian journalist, was shot dead by Israeli forces while covering a raid in the Jenin refugee camp. As usual, Israel denies that it is responsible for the killing, but eyewitness accounts and B’Tselem’s investigation refute Israel’s denials. Thus it seems this is another example of Israeli execution of a Palestinian who posed no threat whatsoever and was only trying to do her job – which in this case was to document Israel’s illegal assault on Palestinian population centers.

    And as if the murder wasn’t enough, Israel outdid itself on Friday when it attacked Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral. Israel maintains that it needed to maintain order at the funeral, which by its account was a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment. Aside from the notion that anti-Israel sentiment at the funeral of a Palestinian murdered by Israel is completely understandable, why were Israeli forces there to begin with? Who did they need to protect from the anti-Israel sentiment aside from themselves? No one and that’s the point.

    They were there to instigate a scene of chaos and violence so that instead of a story about a funeral for yet another murdered Palestinian instead you have another example of an incident that the mainstream press can report as one where both sides made mistakes and of course you get Palestinians hurling deadly objects, i.e rocks at occupation soldiers, the fact those same soldiers are wearing body armor and armed with machine guns notwithstanding. And of course we get the same mealy-mouthed garbage from the administration in response.

    We are in the season of the anniversary of the Nakba, that this has gone on unabated for 74 years, is a blight on mainstream Judaism and the western powers that have the means to end it, if only they wanted to.

    Thanks for reading,”

    Scott Roth

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