Wednesday May 11, 2022

Palestinian journalist killed in Jenin

Palestinian journalist killed in Jenin

Shireen Abu Akleh

Al Jazeera’s Palestinian reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed during an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the West Bank on Wednesday, and it has sent a wave of shock and sadness in the region. Journalists are the most vulnerable in conflict zones, but there has been greater danger for journalists because Israel in its operations does not follow the norms. While the Palestinian health ministry had confirmed that Abu Akleh was killed in Israeli firing.

Another Palestinian journalist working for the Jerusalem-based Al Quds newspaper was injured in the firing, but he is said to be stable. Al Jazeera issued a statement that Abu Akleh’s was “assassinated in cold blood” by Israeli forces. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement, “According to the information we’ve gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians – who were indiscriminately firing at the time – were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist.”

Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa said, “The killing of veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which Israel locks Palestinians.”

Anthony Bellanger of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Abu Akleh’s killing is a “deliberate, systematic targeting of a journalist.” He said, “Yet again journalists, wearing press vests, clearly identified were targeted by Israeli snipers. We will seek to add this case to the ICC complaint submitted by the IFJ, detaining such systematic targeting.”

The reason for the anger against Israeli soldiers is because of the excessive force they use against the civilians in Palestinian territories, where Israel suspects Palestinian militias are targeting Israeli forces and civilians. With no political solution in sight, the daily battles between the hemmed in Palestinians and the Israeli military have become exercises in blind violence.

The Israeli authorities seem to believe that a more humane approach allows Palestinian gunmen to take advantage of the situation. Meanwhile, civilians and journalists pay a heavy price and the death of Abu Akleh in the firing is a glaring example of how people who are non-combatants get killed.

Abu Akleh has emerged as a shining figure in Palestine, where to report things as they are happening has become a moral imperative. She has been the reporter for the Arabic language channel of Al Jazeera, and her reporting over the last two decades and more when she joined the channel in 1997 has won her plaudits among the journalists in Palestine and elsewhere.

It needs both courage and more commitment to be reporting news from these danger zones, and Abu Akleh had done the job without much ado. That is why, her death has enraged people so much. To add insult to injury, Israeli forces have raided the home of Abu Akleh in East Jerusalem, and prevented the playing of national songs and removed the Palestinian flags.

Abu Akleh did a journalism course in Jordan and joined Al Jazeera. She is a home-bred journalist, who has gained experience and credibility over the years as she reported the series of conflicts that broke out in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon.

She is recognized for her warmth and laughter while she reported on the grim situation which was a constant feature in the Palestinian territories. She had become a symbol of hope for people who have lost all hope. The sadness felt at her death is all the more because she is seen as the brave journalist who did her job with a smile on her face.

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