PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was a leading media voice since the intifada or uprising in Palestine in 2000.
For over two decades, she reported fearlessly on human rights abuses in the Occupied Territories.
She wrote with anguish about the 74-year-old uprising in Palestine and the Western world’s indifference to the dehumanisation and brutalisation of the Muslim and Christian population in the Occupied Territories.
But on May 11, Shireen’s voice was silenced forever after she was shot and killed while reporting on an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Much sorrow has been expressed around the world over her killing.
We, the members of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), in solidarity with the global outcry against her assassination, wish to add our condemnation of her cold-blooded execution.
To be silent would amount to complicity with her killing, as well as the degrading and inhuman treatment meted to her in death by the behaviour of the Israeli forces at her funeral.
As the casket was being carried to the Christian cemetery, Israeli police attacked the mourners with batons and stun grenades, almost causing the pallbearers to drop the coffin.
Besides Shireen’s killing, the wider aggression against Palestinian journalists must be investigated.
It is noteworthy that the International Federation of Journalists filed a complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court in April.
One also notes that Shireen’s targeted killing follows the fourth anniversary of the death of Palestinian journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein, who also fell victim to an Israeli sniper while covering the “Great March of Return” in March 2018.
According to Reporters Without Borders, the number of journalists killed while covering the plight of the Palestinians is more than 40 since 2000.
This is despite the protection afforded to journalists by international humanitarian law.
We note with sorrow that although a multitude of international organisations have voiced condemnation over Shireen’s killing, there is deafening silence from certain states that preach human rights to the rest of the world.
We wish to stand in solidarity with the family, friends, colleagues and people to whom Shireen gave her voice.
We wish to reiterate that although the global attention these days is focused on the Russia-Ukraine war, the world needs to recast its attention and conscience to the protracted aggression and injustices in the illegally occupied territories of the West Bank.
Shireen’s assassination underlies the daily reality of the systemic violence against innocent civilians in occupied Palestine, and Israel’s aggression against anyone reporting these crimes.
Preventing the media from conducting its duty is one of the messages behind this atrocity.
PROF DR SHAD SALEEM FARUQI
Vice-president, JUST International
and DR JASPAL KAUR
Assistant secretary-general, JUST International