A file photo of Shireen Abu Akleh. Abu Akleh was in her blue flak jacket marked ‘Press’ when she was shot and killed Photo Al Jazeera
West Bank – A veteran Al Jazeera reporter was fatally shot and another was injured while covering Israeli raids in Jenin. Shireen Abu Akleh was shot on Wednesday and passed away soon after. Video footage of the incident shows Abu Akleh wearing a blue flak jacket clearly marked with the word ‘PRESS’ and head gear. While Israeli military has called for an investigation to find out what really happened, Khalid Amayreh, a journalist in the West Bank believes Abu Akleh was targeted by the Israeli military.
“I have no doubt that the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh was deliberate. I’m not saying this as a furious person of what happened. I’m saying that because of my experiences. I was told repeatedly by the Israeli military if I did not “behave” something would happen to me. It was a warning to me that I would be shot and killed if I did not stop exposing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.”
Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, had proposed to the Palestinian Authority a joint pathological investigation into the reporter’s death but this was rejected. Amayreh believes that any report will be ignored by the Israeli government. The crime must be investigated at an international level.
“The Israelis don’t care about the international reaction. They are so arrogant. They wouldn’t care. That’s why I think we must insist on an international investigation. An international commission of inquiry into this crime. The Israelis are not to be trusted. They will take any opportunity to distort the truth and this is why the Palestinian Authority has rejected the Israeli offer of a joint investigation.”
International condemnation of killing of journalist
Israeli officials released a report stating that their military was fired upon and was met with heavy resistance. However, reports from journalists who accompanied the army say there were no resistance fighters in the area. And the army targeted Abu Akleh.
Amayreh supports the account of other journalists present. He believes that Israel is trying to conjure up its own facts to try and conceal what really happened.
“They were carrying out brutal attacks against innocent civilians. Jenin camp is a refugee camp. This is totally a misrepresentation of truth but they always misrepresent the truth. It is something the Israelis are proficient at … The journalists are very conspicuous. They are wearing their helmets and gear. So, it is either that the Israelis are bad marksmen, they do not view the targets or they are lying and they are lying. They go there every night to kill people and then they justify the killings by claiming they came under attack. This is their modus operandi.”
Amayreh firmly believes the murder of Abu Akleh was a message to Palestinians and others of what could happen if someone reports on their crimes.
“This is an example of killing the messenger. Israel is trying to intimidate Palestinians and journalists. They want to tell people that if you cover the Israel crimes that are perpetrated every hour then something might happen to them. They acted on these intentions. Shireen Abu Akleh was not the first Palestinian journalist to be murdered by Israel and she won’t be the last.”
Amayreh has called on South Africa, the international community and journalists around the world to condemn this crime using strong language and seek an international inquiry into it. Julie Allie spoke with Khalid Amayreh.