Andrea Germanos human rights Media Palestine

‘We Were Expecting This,’ Says Family After Israel Says No Criminal Probe Into Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

The development came as leading international artists called for "meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians."
Activists take part in a candlelight vigil outside the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for West Asia building in Beirut to denounce the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. (Photo: Marwan Naamani/picture alliance via Getty Images)

By Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

Israel will not pursue a criminal investigation into the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, whose death earlier this month sparked global outrage.

The development was reported Thursday by both Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post.

Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera‘s correspondent in Palestine, was fatally shot in the head on May 11 while covering an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. She was wearing a helmet and press jacket. Witnesses say she was shot by an Israeli soldier.

“In view of the nature of the operational activity, which included intense fighting and extensive exchanges of fire, it was decided that there was no need to open a military police investigation at this stage,” according to a statement from the military provided to the Jerusalem Post.

Israel-based human rights organization B’Tselem suggested the announcement from the military police criminal investigation division should come as no surprise.

“As B’Tselem has stated again and again: no one should wait for Israel’s ‘investigations’ nor expect that they will deliver justice for Palestinians,” the group tweeted. “It is time for the world to finally wake up to this reality and take action. Anything else simply enables Israel’s impunity.”

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Abu Akleh’s family said, “We were expecting this from the Israeli side.”

“We urge the United States in particular—since she is a U.S. citizen—and the international community to open a just and transparent investigation and to put an end to the killings,” the family said.

The Intercept reported this week that a pair of congressional Democrats, Reps. André Carson of Indiana and Lou Correa of California, are gathering signatures for a letter demanding an FBI investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing and a determination from the State Department as to whether U.S. laws were violated.

Days after Abu Akleh’s death, global outrage erupted after footage showed Israeli fores attacking the pallbearers of her coffin during the funeral procession.

The footage of that violence was “shocking,” said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who called for “accountability for the terrible killing not just of Shireen Abu Akleh but for all the killings and serious injuries in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

A group of leading artists similarly called Thursday for “full accountability for the perpetrators” of Abu Akelh’s death “and everyone involved in authorizing it.”

In an open letter, figures including Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar, Indian author Arundhati Roy, Canadian author Naomi Klein, and U.S. actor Mark Ruffalo write: “We call on our governments to end their hypocrisy and to act with consistency in the application of international law and human rights. We call on them to take meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians.”

“There must be no double standards,” they add, “when it comes to the basic human right to freedom from persecution and oppression and the right to life and to dignity.”

Andrea Germanos

Andrea Germanos is a senior editor and staff writer at Common Dreams.


  1. This sort of criminal behavior ought to make Israel a pariah state, in the same way apartheid South Africa was.

  2. I’m sure that Israeli citizens across the world that are in the public eye will be told to denounce Israel or face expulsion from the institutions they are a part of

  3. Israel our “Sacred Cow” see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil! Israel is the new Egypt and Pharaoh on the block all Jews of conscience see this! The state of Israel is an idol and Zionism is its religion. The authentic religion of Judaism sees all humanity created in the image and likeness of the Holy One! The Prophets of Israel called this out centuries ago, Justice, Justice, what I want is Justice! May we all wake up to the call of the Prophets in their cries for justice!

  4. Like so many other crimes against humanity across our globe, this one will soon be forgotten. Justice on the world stage is always a bridesmaid – never he bride.

  5. It’s anti-semitic to complain about the deaths of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Nothing will be done in our congress because they who do so will be punished. Yes, some will talk about it and may say something should be done, but nothing ever has.

  6. USA should demand investigation? Julian Arrange is a journalist who Trump and Pompeo wanted to assassinate. We allow Saudi Arabia to murder and dismember a journalist.

  7. This reporter was an America citizen as I understand it. US politicians should demand that a U.S. government agency or an international agency supported by a U.S. agency thoroughly investigate this killing and prosecute, if information/facts are justified, the shooter and the commanders who allowed or encouraged or ordered it.

    Was it accidental? Not likely if a number of bullets were fired at the standing observation group of media people.

    The weapons of war have changed. It is mostly men shooting. From what I know as a person trained as an infantry officer, one heck of a lot of men are not very good shots with their two eyeballs and a rifle including me. But you give them a machine gun and they can spray it like spraying a garden with a hose. One man can shoot many people.

    Now due to the “wonders of technology” or reality is the “nightmares of technology,” we have telescopic sights including night vision, special rifles and bullets that are not used for shooting at and killing opposing forces but are used to assassinate specific people in opposing forces.

    The use of high tech assassination weapons by American forces for the last 60 years or more by training people called snipers in reality assassins is a disease of modern high tech wars as are assassinations of specific people with drone weapon technology controlled by “pilots” as the military calls these people.

    The Israelis, Americans and other groups have been doing these types of assassinations using high tech for decades. President and other national or group leaders check of the names of people to be assassinated like we check of items on our grocery list. Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden think they are real men of power when they can order killings of men and women without trials. These “he men” should all be impeached.

    But for the life and now death of photo journalist

    In the sad specific case of Ms. Shireen Abu Akleh our society and Nation owe her a thorough investigation! These assassinations of reporters happen in Israel and Mexico and to many other nations.

    Both America and Israel have the same problem – a sick empire colonialist streak of killing people for profits (land, water, space, raw materials, cheap labor, etc. etc. etc.) The greed never ends except by force from the society.

    It is time we act! Peace!

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