Sunday, March 3, 2024

One year of Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing: Family renews calls for accountability from Israel

Marking one year of the killing of Palestinian American television journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Thursday, several journalists and press organisations renewed their demand to hold Israel forces accountable for her killing.

“Over the past year, our family has been forced to grieve while seeking justice and accountability for Israel’s war crime,” reads a statement by Abu Akleh family.

“From the beginning, we’ve called on the U.S. government to act in the same way it would if any other American citizen was killed abroad. After six months, news broke that the United States had opened a federal criminal investigation into Shireen’s killing.”

Abu Akleh, a correspondent with Al Jazeera for 25 years, was shot by Israeli forces on May 11, 2022, while reporting on an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Al Jazeera Media Network renewed its demand for accountability on Thursday. In December last year, the network submitted a request for the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killing.

According to a new special report by Committee to Protect Journalists, since 2001, at least 20 journalists are killings by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The vast majority — 18 — were Palestinian; two were European foreign correspondents; there were no Israelis. No one has ever been charged or held accountable for these deaths.

“The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and the failure of the army’s investigative process to hold anyone responsible is not a one-off event,” CPJ Director of Special Projects Robert Mahoney said.

Israel initially denied its forces were behind her shooting but later admitted its soldiers “accidentally” hit her but refused to launch a criminal investigation.

“Our family will continue to pursue justice for Shireen from the halls of the U.S. Congress to the International Criminal Court, and urge members of Congress, journalists, and people of conscience around the world to join our family in calling for justice and accountability so that no other family has to endure the pain ours has. It’s been an entire year since our Shireen was murdered, and our family shouldn’t have to wait another day for justice,” the readout from the family said.

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