Israel forced to withdraw claim that journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Palestinian fighters 

Journalists, media groups, and human right organizations from across the world are demanding accountability and justice for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and accusing Israel of attempting a whitewash investigation 

May 12, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Shireen Abu Akleh killing
(Photo: Xinhua)

A day after senior Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed, Israeli authorities were forced to retract their claim that her death was a result of crossfire between Israeli security forces and Palestinian fighters.  

Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi in a statement on Wednesday evening reiterated the claims of crossfire but did not repeat that Akleh died from Palestinians bullets as claimed earlier. He said that “at this stage, it is not possible to determine whose gunfire she was hit by and we are sorry for her death,” Times of Israel reported.    

Several Israeli officials including the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had shared a video claiming that Akleh was killed by shots fired by Palestinian fighters despite eyewitnesses claiming that she was shot by Israeli snipers. 

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem carried out an investigation and proved that the video footage shared by Bennett and other Israeli officials is of some other incident and location. 

The post soon became viral and forced Israeli authorities to retract their claims about Akleh being shot by Palestinian fighters. 

Akleh was shot in the face and killed by an Israeli sniper early morning on Wednesday. Her colleague Ali al-Samoudi was also wounded in the firing. They, along with other journalists, were going to cover an Israeli raid in a Palestinian camp in Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank. 

Thousands of people attended a state funeral for Akleh on Thursday in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas was also present. Her body was taken to Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem where her family lives. She will be buried there on Friday. 

Meanwhile, Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, rejected Israel’s offer of a “joint investigation” in the killing of Akleh. Mansour demanded that any international investigation should not involve Israel, saying that Palestinians hold Israel responsible for the “assassination” of the senior journalist. 

Israel had “offered” a joint investigation in Akleh’s killing on Wednesday. Responding to the Israeli offer of investigation, Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, questioned its record saying that “Israel does not investigate. Israel whitewashes” with the support of the US administration. 

The UN and several other groups have also supported the call for an independent investigation into the killing. 

Throughout Wednesday, condolences and condemnations for the Israeli killing of Akleh poured in. Over 20 progressive media outlets including TeleSUR, Pan African TV, Al-Mayadeen and Brasil De Fato issued a joint statement on Wednesday expressing their solidarity with the Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation and condemning Akleh’s “brutal assasination” by Israeli forces.