Israel killed 50 journalists in 21 years: Shireen Abu Akleh was the latest one

50 journalists killed in 21 years . That’s 2.3 journalists a year. But this is not Mexico, not Afghanistan, not Syria and not Yemen which are among the top countries which hold the record for the most reporters killed in 2021. 

I am referring to Israel.  This is the same Israel that controls Palestine – that illegally occupies Gaza and the West Bank.  The Israeli Defence Forces – the IDF—which Israel and its Jewish supporters claim is the “most moral army in the world” –this is what they did:  they killed 50 plus journalists, and according to Reporters Without Borders injured more than 144 reporters in the last four years.

By comparison, there has not been one journalist killed by the Palestinians in the same 20 years.

Last week, 51-year-old Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian journalist and a US citizen who worked for Al-Jazeera, was killed in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.  She was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin, a refugee camp in the West Bank Abu Akleh was wearing a flack jacket with the word PRESS emblazoned in giant letters and she was wearing a helmet.  But the helmet did not protect her head which an Israeli sniper’s bullet tore apart.   Abu Akleh was wearing all the protective gear, as were the three other reporters standing near her. Israeli soldiers had ushered the four journalists to a safe area far away from the shooting.   A human rights field researcher from B’Tselem (The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) said they had identified the location of Abu Akleh’s death and that of the shooting — and said that the two spots were far apart . Seconds before she was killed, Al-Jazeera TV producer Ali Samoudi, was seriously injured by an Israeli gunshot to the back. 

Jenin Refugee Camp, in quieter days (UNWRA); Mural in Khan Younis, South Gaza Strip; Shireen Abu Akleh at work; fellow journalists escort Abu Akleh’s body to Jenin Hospital (Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP)

At first Israeli “hasbarah” (propaganda) said that Abu Akleh could have been killed by a Palestinian who was eight blocks away.  When that didn’t wash, every reputable source, including B’tselem was able to establish  that she was in fact killed in a targeted shooting by an Israeli sniper.

Not even the craven pro-Zionist crew at Canada’s  CIJA – the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs – dared to sustain the argument that she was killed by Palestinians. 

It’s getting hard to hide things with social media around

Newspapers “of record” such as the The New York TimesThe Guardian, and The Washington Post refused to risk what is left of their frayed, usually pro-Israel, reputations to say Abu Akleh was caught in a cross-fire.  Today, almost every reliable news outlet in the world – agrees

  1. Abu Akleh was assassinated by the IDF
  2. Abu Akleh was a target

They also agree that on Friday, the day of her funeral in East Jerusalem, hundreds of mourners were beaten with truncheons, batons, and were kicked and pummelled by Israeli police, who also lobbed stun grenades into the crowd of nearly 10,000.   The funeral scenes are horrendous.  Mourners tried to carry Abu Akleh’s casket from St Joseph’s hospital in East Jerusalem to the Mt Zion cemetery.  The generally pro-Israel newspaper, The Times of Israel reported Israel’s police statement which was released on Friday. 

“Israeli police intervened to disperse the mob and prevent them from taking the coffin, so that the funeral could proceed as planned in accordance with the wishes of the family.”

However, according to Anton Abu Akleh, the slain journalist’s brother, this was an outrageous lie.   Anton Abu Akleh described a very different scene, and he slammed the Israeli police for “extreme, vicious and brutal force” outside the hospital. Ultimately, the police forced his sister’s body to be driven by a hearse to the cemetery.

Israeli police used “extreme, vicious and brutal force” against mourners at Abu Akleh’s funeral

Anton Abu Akleh, journalist’s brother

Trenchant Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy –who is Jewish –called the Israeli police barbaric  — 

“The fact that policemen did this in view of the world’s cameras only illustrates to what extent this is the only language they know, of which they’re not even ashamed.”

Gideon Levy, in Ha’aretz May 15, 2022.

Clockwise:  Mural of Shireen Abu Akleh in Gaza City (credit: Mohammed Abed, Barrons); young women hold posters of Akleh, shot dead on May 11 in an Israeli raid on Jenin (Hazem Bader / AFP); Israeli police attack mourners (NBC); mourners march in East Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post)

Violence, “this is the only language” the Israeli police know

Didn’t we used to hear right wing Israeli leaders tell us that Arabs (ie: Palestinians) only know the language of violence?  Now Levy, a leading Jewish journalist, born and raised in Israel, is saying about Israel’s police that  violence is “the only language they know.” 

“The blue-uniformed policemen and the green-uniformed Border Policemen have become storm troopers in the deepest and most loaded sense of this term; there is no other way of describing them. In a country that has a police force like this, every citizen should be concerned, even very frightened. It’s long been an issue that is not just for Palestinians to worry about; they have become inured to it and bear scars from it; now Israelis should be filled with anxiety too.”

Gideon Levy, May 15, 2022: Israel’s Brutal Storm Troopers Should Have Never Been at Abu Akleh’s Funeral

The Nakbah & Shireen Abu Akleh

May 15 commemorates the 74th year since the Nakbah took place.  The Nakbah, or the catastrophe, saw more than 750,000 Palestinians driven from their homes by Israeli soldiers.  Most ended up in refugee camps, where their descendants live to this day, mainly in the West Bank, in Gaza and in Lebanon.  Most live without passports, and without a state.  Gaza is one of the poorest and overcrowded places on earth. 

The murder of Shireen Abu Akleh serves as a reminder to the Palestinians, and to those who seek justice for Palestinians that Israel continues to be armed to the teeth and supported by friendly western regimes—notably Canada and the US.  A German court has banned Nakbah Day commemorations in Berlin, claiming they are antisemitic calls to violence.    In Canada, the Canadian pro-Israel lobby organizations repeat that the Nakba is a hatefest, led by a pro-terrorist faction which presents “a threat caused by the Jewish left making league with murderous Islamists.”

Canada’s establishment Jewish community denies the Nakba happened– calls it a ‘hatefest’, fraudulent and antisemitic

For years, the Palestinian community and its allies such as Independent Jewish Voices Canada have pleaded with the Canadian Human Rights Museum (CHRM) in Winnipeg to feature an exhibit on the Nakba, as the museum has mounted a permanent display on the Holocaust.  But Jewish groups label that request “fraudulent.” and “antisemitic”. Representatives of several pro-Israel Jewish groups  have urged the museum’s CEO to “Just say no” to the Nakba narrative. In fact, in a presentation to Isha Khan,  the museum’s CEO, Toronto lawyer Guidy Mamann equated commemorating the Nakba to support for the Nazis.  Mamann noted it is as if  “…the Germans lost World War II and celebrated the day and called it a disaster. We wouldn’t necessarily think the loss of the Nazis would be a disaster.”

Journalists in Canada, and Journalism schools, have a role to play.  I haven’t seen one article penned by any member of the “legacy” or mainstream media which condemns Israel for killing journalist Abu Akleh.   I want to know why Canadian journalists are so timid?  Perhaps they are merely calculating – they don’t want to get in the sights of Israel’s “hasbarah”. 

Featured Image: Mural pays tribute to Shireen Abu Akleh in Gaza City (photo credit, Mohammed Abed, in Barron’s)

One comment

  1. Very eye opening. I’m glad this came through though. In a world where you can be anything, be yourself


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