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Abu Akleh’s killing highlights Israeli assaults on journalists

The killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces within the occupied West Bank has solid a highlight on the excessive charge of Israeli assaults towards media staff, significantly Palestinians, and the relative impunity underneath which they function, in accordance with native journalists, advocates and rights teams.

Abu Akleh, 51, was fatally shot within the face on Wednesday whereas overlaying Israeli raids within the metropolis of Jenin.

Palestinian authorities mentioned the veteran journalist was shot by Israeli forces. Israel supplied to conduct a joint investigation with Palestinian authorities, however its navy has sought to solid doubt on who was accountable, saying Abu Akleh was shot throughout an trade of gunfire and will have been killed by Palestinian gunmen. Palestinian authorities have rejected a joint investigation.

Journalists on the scene, together with Shatha Hanaysha, who was additionally wounded within the incident, have rejected that narrative, saying Abu Akleh was in an “exposed area” with three different journalists after they have been fired upon and that “there were no confrontations or shots being fired by Palestinian fighters”.

Journalists and advocates mentioned the early model of occasions from the Israeli navy signifies that it’s unlikely its forces might be held accountable for the killing.

Interactive Shireen Abu Akleh Killed
(Al Jazeera)

“I would say I have little to no confidence [in the investigation],” Yumna Patel, director of Palestine information for Mondoweiss, informed Al Jazeera.

“Time and time again. It has been shown that Israeli forces kill Palestinians, including Palestinian journalists, without cause in the occupied territories and it’s very extremely rare that Israeli soldiers, captains or military officials are ever held accountable for their actions,” she mentioned.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, mentioned the organisation is trying into the killing of Abu Akleh, however decried Israeli investigations “as whitewashed mechanisms”.

“That is the assessment that’s been reached by human rights organisations including Israeli’s premier human rights organization B’Tselem. Human Rights Watch has a similar diagnosis,” he mentioned. “The reality is there is no accountability for those sorts of abuses when it comes to actions by the Israeli authorities”.

‘Continuing impunity’

The killing comes simply days after the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians filed a proper criticism with the International Criminal Court alleging “systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists”.

The criticism particularly cited the killings of Ahmed Abu Hussein and Yasser Mortaja, who have been fatally shot by Israeli snipers whereas overlaying the Great March of Return protests in 2018, and Muath Amarneh and Nedal Eshtayeh, who have been maimed by Israeli sniper hearth in 2019 and 2015, respectively.

The criticism additionally cited the “targeting and bombing” of buildings housing media within the Gaza Strip, together with the Israeli air raid that destroyed the 11-storey al-Jalaa constructing, which housed Al Jazeera and Associated Press workplaces, in May 2021.

Shireen Abu Akleh
Shireen Abu Akleh was fatally shot by Israeli forces on Wednesday [File: Al Jazeera]

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger mentioned on the time that the criticism was filed “in the light of the continuing impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of these attacks”.

Previously, in 2019, a UN Human Rights Council fee mentioned in a report that it had “found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot journalists intentionally, despite seeing that they were clearly marked as such” in the course of the 2018 protests alongside the border of the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Israel rejected the findings, with a international ministry spokesman calling it a “biased and distorted kangaroo court ‘report’”.

Citing the PJS, Patel mentioned 86 Palestinian journalists have been killed since 1967, the yr Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. The syndicate mentioned an estimated 50 Palestinian journalists have been killed since 2000, with six killed within the occupied Palestinian territory within the final two years.

Reporters Without Borders, in the meantime, has mentioned that 144 Palestinian journalists have been on “the receiving end of live rounds, rubber bullets, stun grenades or tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers or police” within the occupied Palestinian territory because the weekly Great March of Return protests started in 2018.

In a press release on Wednesday, the PJS referred to as the assault “a clear assassination perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army” and referred to as for a “clear move to protect fellow journalists from the continued incitement and killing practiced by the Israeli occupation and all components of the occupation.”

For her half, Patel mentioned she has “little to no confidence” that Israel’s closest Western allies will enhance strain for accountability within the wake of the killing or that the assault will threaten the unconditional support Israel receives from highly effective nations just like the US.

“There needs to be a political will,” she mentioned. But sadly, with regards to Israel, there isn’t any political will when it comes to holding Israel accountable for its crimes and its assaults on the journalists and press”.

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