Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh died in an Israeli attack. Who will investigate? What does the UN say? What revolts the Palestinians?

Who was Shireen Abu Akleh?

Shireen Abu Akleh was a veteran Palestinian and American dual journalist who worked for the Al-Jazeera television channel. She was one of the most influential journalists in the Arab world, known for covering Israel’s military occupation of Palestine for more than two decades. Shireen Abu Akleh was 51 years old.

Shireen Abu Akleh

al jazeera document

Under what circumstances did he die?

On Wednesday 11, the journalist died after being shot in the head. Shireen Abu Akleh was reporting from the refugee camp in the city of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, territory occupied by Israel since 1967. The reporter wore a blue bulletproof vest with the word “Press” on it. The death was announced by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health.

Al-Jazeera accused Israel of “murdering in cold blood” Abu Akleh. “In a tragic premeditated murder that violates international laws and norms, the Israeli occupying forces killed our journalist in cold blood,” the television channel responded in a statement. “We condemn this atrocious crime”, for which “we hold the Israeli government and the occupying forces responsible”, he stressed.

What did Israel say?

The Israeli army explained that it was defending itself from an intense attack in Jenin when Shireen Abu Akleh died. Without taking any blame, he added that he was “investigating the event and analyzing the possibility that the journalists were hit by Palestinian snipers”.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did not rule out the possibility that the journalist had been the victim of Palestinian fire, which he considered likely. Because, according to the official, there were Palestinians in the confrontation “firing indiscriminately” and no Israeli soldier was injured. Bennett also recalled that the Palestinian Authority “normally blames Israel without any basis.”

Later, the Israeli ambassador to the UN lamented that Palestine “rushed to blame Israel, even without the possibility of knowing the facts”. Gilad Erdan added: “This death is a tragedy, but no one should use it for political purposes, especially those who violate human rights on a daily basis.”

And Palestine?

Also at the United Nations, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansur called for an “international and independent investigation” into the murder of the Al-Jazeera journalist, with “concrete measures” to find the culprits.

However, Mansur has made it very clear that Palestine will not accept an investigation conducted exclusively by Israel, nor will it collaborate with the “occupying power”. Indeed, “criminals cannot investigate themselves”, stressed the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, after insisting that it was “the Israeli occupation authorities who murdered [Shireen]”.

hazem bader/getty images

How has the international community reacted?

After the veteran journalist’s death on Wednesday, Al-Jazeera called on the international community to “condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for deliberately attacking and killing his colleague Shireen Abu Akleh”.

The United States was one of the first countries to do so. “We are heartbroken and strongly condemn the death of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank. The investigation must be prompt and thorough, and the perpetrators must be held accountable,” State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter.

Also on Twitter, the Portuguese Foreign Ministry reacted and condemned “the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the line of duty in the West Bank, expressing its sincere condolences to the family. A rigorous investigation of the incident is necessary. Freedom of the press and the protection of journalists in the context of conflict are fundamental”.

Earlier this Saturday, the UN Security Council “strongly condemned the murder” of Shireen, in a statement raised by the United States and unanimously endorsed. The document calls for “an immediate, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation” and stresses “the need to ensure accountability” of the perpetrators of the crime.

What will happen now?

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has already promised a full, entirely public investigation into the journalist’s death and urged Palestinian authorities to hand over the bullet that killed her.

“I am truly sorry for what happened. We do not currently know what the direct cause of Shireen’s death was. We are committed to a full scale investigation into this process and hope to obtain the cooperation of partners in this file. Without the report of the pathological findings and the forensic findings, it will be very difficult for us to know what happened on the ground.

What confusion ensued?

The Palestinian Authority has already made it clear that it will not hand over the projectile for ballistic analysis, once again rejecting Israel’s request for a joint investigation. Advisor to Palestinian President Hussein Al-Sheikh said they would conduct their own independent investigation and report the “findings with the utmost transparency”.

The information was not well received by Israel. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Palestine’s decision: “I expect full, open and transparent collaboration. I also hope that the Palestinian Authority will not take any action aimed at obstructing the investigation or undermining its due process in a way that would prevent us from uncovering the truth.

For its part, the United States has shown itself “ready to support” the investigations into the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, despite the fact that the White House has not yet received a request for assistance from either of them. other of the parties.

“We understand that Israel and the Palestinian Authority are already conducting investigations into the circumstances of the murder,” the White House spokeswoman said Thursday at a press conference. Jen Psaki added that the results should be shared “to ensure that all the evidence is available and fully assessed”.

amir levy

The controversy did not end there. During Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral on Friday, Israeli military forces attacked several people paying their last respects to the Palestinian woman in Jerusalem. Police argued they were beaten with “rocks and sticks” by the crowd and therefore resorted to tear gas and physical violence, including batons and kicks. Amid the confusion, the coffin was overturned, according to footage shown on television.

Faced with the violence during the funeral, the Israeli police decided to open an investigation because they want to “learn the lessons of this incident”, despite “the support of their agents”. Despite this, he notes that the “officers were exposed to violence from the rioters who tried to sabotage the ceremony”, which led the police “to use force”.

“The Israel Police Commissioner, in coordination with the Minister of Public Security, has ordered an investigation into the incident. The findings will be presented to the commissioner in the coming days,” the Israeli police announced on Saturday.

Are you the first Palestinian journalist to die?

No, Shireen Abu Akleh joins at least 45 journalists killed by Israeli forces since 2000, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Information quoted by AlJazeera. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate put the death toll at 55. Journalists are identified by a vest on which is written “Press”.

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