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Justice for Shaireen

Written By: - Date published: 12:11 pm, May 16th, 2022 - 30 comments
Categories: International, israel, war - Tags:

The spotlight is again on Israel after the senseless shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh allegedly by an Israeli army sniper and on the subsequent disruption of her funeral by Israeli defence forces.

The Guardian provides this background:

Shireen Abu Aqleh, the Al Jazeera correspondent who has been shot and killed in Jenin in the West Bank, was a veteran observer of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, renowned across the Arab world as an authoritative voice on the region’s most contested story.

The 51-year-old joint Palestinian and US citizen had reported from nearly every flashpoint in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem over three decades, during which she regularly crisscrossed between both sides telling the stories of Palestinians and Israelis from homes, battlegrounds and the drawing rooms of leaders.

She covered the second intifada, the Israeli siege of Jenin in 2002, the death of Yasser Arafat, numerous West Bank raids and faltering attempts to find a sustainable peace.

Abu Aqleh was highly regarded throughout the region and seen as one of the network’s pre-eminent talents, whose coverage faced the intense scrutiny of vested interests on both sides of the conflict since she made her on-screen debut in 1997.

Israel has tried to suggest that she was shot by Palestinian fire.  But this has been hotly disputed by Ali al-Samoudi another journalist who was wounded at the same time and by Shatha Hanaysha, a local journalist standing next to her when she was shot.  From Al Jazeera:

Al-Samoudi and other journalists at the scene said there were no Palestinian fighters present when the journalists were shot, directly disputing an Israeli statement referencing the possibility that it was Palestinian fire.

“We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming,” said al-Samoudi.

“The first bullet hit me and the second bullet hit Shireen … there was no Palestinian military resistance at all at the scene.”

Shatha Hanaysha, a local journalist who was standing next to Abu Akleh when she was shot, also told Al Jazeera that there had been no confrontations between Palestinian fighters and the Israeli army. She said the group of journalists had been directly targeted.

“We were four journalists, we were all wearing vests, all wearing helmets,” Hanaysha said. “The [Israeli] occupation army did not stop firing even after she collapsed. I couldn’t even extend my arm to pull her because of the shots being fired. The army was adamant on shooting to kill.”

Al Jazeera did not hold back on its criticism of Israel:

In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine, Shireen Abu Akleh, targeting her with live fire early this morning, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, while conducting her journalistic duty, clearly wearing a press jacket that identifies her a journalist, covering the Israeli occupation forces storming of Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

In the light of the senseless shooting of a respected journalist what is the most insensitive disgraceful think that the Israeli Forces could do?  How about disrupt her funeral and attack her coffin because there were Palestinian flags there?

The claims of stone throwing at forces appears to have as much legitimacy as the earlier claims that she was shot by Palestinian fire.

Locally a plan to light up the Michael Fowler Centre with Palestinian colours was vetoed by Wellington Mayor Andy Foster.

From Stuff:

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster vetoed a plan to light up the Michael Fowler Centre in the colours of the Palestinian flag after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) expressed concerns about Israeli sensitivities.

The projection, driven by Wellington City councillor Tamatha Paul, was to mark a national commemoration of Palestine, and had been ready to go ahead on Monday until Foster took advice from Mfat and was told the act “could be construed as state recognition” of Palestine.

Nakba​ Day, which means catastrophe in Arabic, commemorates the estimated 700,000 people who fled or were driven from their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war. New Zealand does not officially recognise Palestine as a state.

Foster stood by his decision on Sunday and said Mfat told him displaying the Palestinian colours could result in complaints from the Israeli ambassador and other Israeli groups. Mfat made it clear it was his choice but strongly urged him to cancel the projection.

I am all for the expression of support for the people of the Ukraine.  The people of Palestine also deserve our support.

30 comments on “Justice for Shaireen ”

  1. Jenny how to get there 1

    On the natural death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the age of 90, our city lowered the flag on our iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge to half mast in honour of this murderous autocrat.

    On the tragic killing of Shireen Abu Akleh at the age of 51, after receiving a request from the representatives of the Auckland Palestinian community to do the same as a sign of respect to mark the tragic death of this world renowned journalist, Mayor Phil Goff flatly refused.

    What does this tell us about ourselves as city and a people?

    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/auckland/auckland-acknowledges-saudi-kings-death/

    • SPC 1.1
      1. Aucklanders loved their petrol driven cars, but need to learn to love EV's …
      2. There were Saudi students at Auckland University, and the city loves people with money.
      • Jenny how to get there 1.1.1

        SPC

        16 May 2022 at 3:08 pm

        …There were Saudi students at Auckland University, and the city loves people with money.

        And we all know that after 74 years of robbery and murder and expulsion, the Palestinians have none.

        New Zealand's war on the poor goes international

  2. Jenny how to get there 2

    Following the the tragic killing of renowned Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, there was an outpouring of condemnation from nations around the world, Even staunch supporters of Israel, America and Britain issued statements condemning the killing and offered the Palestinian people their condolences at their loss. And also expressed their "dismay" at the desecration of Shireen Akleh's funeral procession.

    But the New Zealand government has kept its silence over the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, and the abuse of the her pall bearers, neither issuing a statement of condemnation, or offering the Palestinians our condolences.

    What does this tell the world about ourselves as a people and a nation?

    • mickysavage 2.1

      I did not see this but it was posted before this post went up.

      • Jenny how to get there 2.1.1

        I didn't see it either. My apologies to the Minister. Unfortunately her belated statement never made it into mainstream the news cycle.

        But that could change if the government decided to issue a follow up press statement backing the Palestinian Authority's call for Shireen Akleh's death to be investigated by the ICC under the Statute of Rome agreement. Which allows for the ICC to carrry out independent investigations with the permission of the internationally recognised local legal authority, Which in the Westbank is not Israel, but the PA.

        • Incognito 2.1.1.1

          Unfortunately her belated statement never made it into mainstream the news cycle.

          Correction: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/05/nanaia-mahuta-s-statement-on-death-of-shireen-abu-akleh-criticised-as-too-passive.html

          • Jenny how to get there 2.1.1.1.1

            Sorry, I didn't see this either, Maybe I should have been clearer, but by news cycle I meant the TVNZ, TV3 6pm news cycle. I watched both to make sure. And Prime News as well. Zip.

            Too little, too late perhaps, to be newsworthy?

            I also notice that the newshub report was not very complimentary, noting the belated nature of the tweet, compared to other countries.

            And even more telling, Newshub took the Minister to task for not "condemning" the killing of American/Palestinian journalist Shireen Akleh when so many countries had done so, and comparing this hesitancy to condemn Shireen's killing to when the government had not hesitated to condenm the killing of Egyptian/American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

            News hub then gave a list of all the countries that 'had' condemned the killing.

            The United States ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield "strongly condemned" Abu Akleh's death on Twitter.

            "I strongly condemn the death of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh – who I had the chance to meet in Ramallah last November, and I send my deepest condolences to her family."

            US State Department spokesperson Ned Price condemned her death too.

            "We are heartbroken by and strongly condemn the killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank."

            Foreign Ministries in Egypt, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan have also condemned her killing.

            Newshub also questioned the Minister's use of the word violence that she was saddened to see at the funeral. Such mealy mouthed use of words gives the impression that violence was engaged in, but not that it was a one sided unprovoked attack on the mourners. by the Israelis.

            The Minister needs to try again. Forget about the Israeli exceptionalism, As I said in an earlier comment regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine, because the German Nazis robbed and killed and oppressed millions of your people, is not some sort of moral credit you can draw on to rob and kill and oppress others.

            In my view to recover the situation, and get out of the moral swamp they are wading through, our government needs to issue a statement supporting the Palestinian Authoritie's call for an independent investigation by International Criminal Court into the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh.

            Could that really be too much to ask?

            Afterall the EU has already made such a call and supported the Palestinians in calling for ICC to investigate this crime.

            Let's do it. Let's try to recover from this shame, let's stop being a hypocrite in our international relations.

            if we can stand up to Russia over their invasion and killing in Ukraine, we can stand up to Israel over their occupation and killing in Palestine.

            Newshub asked Mahuta’s office if she would go further and condemn Abu Akleh’s killing, but we were referred to the minister’s tweet.

    • SPC 2.2

      We have weekends.

      • Jenny how to get there 2.2.1

        Other countries have weekends. Six days is not a weekend, it is a weakexcuse.

  3. joe90 3

    Israel has tried to suggest that she was shot by Palestinian fire.

    Tl.dr: – open source evidence not quite 100% but supports eye-witness claims fingering the IDF.

    The Open Source Summary

    While the open source video evidence currently available does not detail the exact moment or shot that killed Abu Akleh, multiple witness testimonies place the blame on IDF soldiers. The available video evidence does not provide good grounds to doubt their accounts — indeed, it appears to support them.

    As the open source video evidence shows, when IDF soldiers and an armed group were engaged in fighting on the street where Abu Akleh eventually fell, the IDF position had a clear trajectory and was closer to the spot where she was shot. This is in contrast to the more obstructed and more distant positions of the armed groups. The leading vehicle in the IDF armoured vehicle convoy seen in the bodycam footage was located approximately 190 metres from the spot where Abu Akleh was shot. In contrast, the armed group seen firing down the street in Video Three was located some 300 metres away.

    Preliminary forensic audio analysis of a video captured in the aftermath of Abu Akleh’s killing also appears to suggest the gunfire originated roughly 177 to 184 metres away, assuming that the weapon and round used are consistent with those seen being used by the IDF and armed Palestinian groups in the area. This estimate more closely aligns with the approximate distance between the IDF position and the site of the journalist’s killing than between the latter and the location of the armed groups

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2022/05/14/unravelling-the-killing-of-shireen-abu-akleh/

  4. Adrian Thornton 4

    The whole Western World and it's media stood by while the IDF murdered scores and wounded hundreds of unarmed Palestinian protesters including reporters and medical staff during the 2018 Great March of Return…the apartheid state of Israel proved during that public slaughter, that they can and will murder anyone they so wish with total impunity….and they have just shown us all that right out in the open once again…when a country has protection from the mafia state of America then they are untouchable…end of story.

    Gaza: The Palestinians who died during the Great March of Return

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/gaza-palestinians-who-died-during-great-march-return

    • SPC 4.1

      And what actually happened.

      General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Protecting Palestinian Civilians Following Rejection of United States Amendment to Condemn Hamas Rocket Fire

      By the text titled “Protection of the Palestinian civilian population” — adopted by a vote of 120 in favour to 8 against with 45 abstentions —

      the Assembly demanded that Israel refrain from such actions and fully abide by its legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949.

      The representative of Australia said the resolution failed to refer to Hamas by name or its role in the Gaza protests. It also failed to mention Israel’s legitimate security concerns, while its reference to an international mechanism could raise expectations unrealistically. For those reasons, Australia had voted against the resolution, but it remained committed to a two-State solution.

      The representative of Czechia said her delegation had abstained because the text would not contribute to a much-need de-escalation of the situation. An unbalanced message which did not mention the destructive role of Hamas would also not bring Israelis and Palestinians closer to the negotiating table, she added.

      The representative of New Zealand said his delegation voted in favour of the L.23 because it was deeply concerned about the high numbers of civilian deaths in Gaza. However, Hamas must be held accountable for its actions.

      The representative of United Kingdom said while her delegation had abstained, it supported the two-State solution. However, the draft was imbalanced. She did not agree with the procedural decisions, noting that the majority of Member States had voted to condemn the actions of Hamas.

      The representative of Canada expressed concern that the resolution did not explicitly refer to Hamas and its role in recent violence. For that reason, Canada had supported the United States’ amendment. On the main text, he had hoped that it would have more clearly reflected the situation on the ground, and therefore he had abstained.

      https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/ga12028.doc.htm

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    Israel is typically recalcitrant in dealing properly with this kind of thing. The NZ government might give some thought as to what kind of sanctions to impose in the event of an inadequate Israeli response. I've always favoured plagues of frogs myself, but inflicting some of our senior civil servants on them would probably be harder to endure.

    • SPC 5.1

      There is a template.

      Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister Trade and Export Growth David Parker say the New Zealand Government continues to condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives.

      Saudi authorities have arrested 18 Saudi nationals and have dismissed several senior officials following an initial investigation of the Khashoggi case.

      “With the confirmation of the death we express our deepest condolences to Mr Khashoggi’s family and friends. Those responsible for his death must be held accountable,” Mr Peters said in a statement this afternoon.

      “While this is an important admission, the killing by government operatives is deeply disturbing. Many questions remain unanswered," he said.

      “We look forward to the results of the investigation being led by Turkey and we urge Saudi Arabia to implement its undertaking to participate openly and transparently in that investigation."

      https://www.1news.co.nz/2018/10/21/nz-government-says-killing-of-journalist-by-saudi-operatives-deeply-disturbing/

      New Zealand of course caught two DGSE operatives back in the 1980's, they were acting under orders from on high – at least as far as the Defence Minister Hernu of Mitterand's government (as to relevance the Crown Prince of Riyadh).

      In this case, it’s a gun and a bullet matching to provide some sort of evidence of an individual culpability.

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.1

        I'm not sure the Saudi process is so robust that it provides a desirable template. The word is that it was the king that said "Who will rid me of this turbulent journalist?", and thus far I'm unaware of any sanction meted out to him.

        Perhaps someone should offer some journalism scholarships for young Palestinians – and get Bellingcat to sift the data for the sniper – though the guilt of his or her commander would seem to be pretty unassailable.

        Appointing Winston as ambassador to Israel might prove amusing however.

        • SPC 5.1.1.1

          There was no known link to the King, just the Crown Prince.

          A collaborative effort by nations to provide scholarships is a good idea of itself and also a useful deterrent.

          PS Having the journalists kitted out in blue (Israeli colours, + the word media presumably so that they would not be shot by IDF soldiers) clearly did not work. But leaves open the possibly that it was not an act by someone of the IDF. And not necessarily a rogue Palestinian gunman either. But a deliberate act by militant operatives of either side (of which PA and Israeli civilian government may not be complicit).

    • Jenny how to get there 5.2

      The NZ government might give some thought as to what kind of sanctions to impose….

      Our government can't even bring itself to condemn the killing or offer its condolences to the bereaved.

    • Jenny how to get there 5.3

      In her statement on our behalf the Minister didn't condemn the killing, or offer her condolences to the bereaved, But she did say we (Aotearoa) are saddened.

      It's not about us.

      As Adrian Thornton pointed out above, we (Aotearoa), or at least our government representatives on our behalf, weren't saddened by the killing of scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters by Israeli snipers.

      So why are we (Aotearoa) belatedly saddened this time?

      Are we, (Aotearoa) saddened at the cruel murder of Shireen Abu Akleh?

      Or are we, (Aotearoa), saddened that this cruel crime and its aftermath were caught on camera for the whole world to see?

      Are we saddened that we actually had to say something about it?

      The Minister on our behalf, needs to try again,

      Come on Minister, you are better than this. Back up the EU's call for the ICC to carry out an independent investigation into this murder.

      It's the very least, we (Aotearoa), can do.

  6. aj 6

    WTF. Must not do anything to upset the tender dears.

    …. expressed concerns about Israeli sensitivities.

  7. aom 7

    Hopefully Wellington's Mayor will apologise for his acceptance of MFAT's mind-boggling advice that flew in the face of the expectation that NZ doesn't have its policies dictated by a racist, Zionist, apartheid government in the Middle East.

    Not only did Foster refuse to have a council building lit up to acknowledge the plight of Palestinians after having no problems in showing support for less worthy causes he undoubtably stoked the insecurity of those of the Jewish community who have no truck with the virulent racism and policies of Israel.

    On the positive side, Te Papa hosted not only the colours of Palestine but the image of Shireen Abu Akleh thanks to a pro-Palestinian guerilla group.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/128655028/guerilla-palestine-protest-at-te-papa-after-mayor-blocks-council-building-use

  8. Jenny how to get there 8

    More footage of Israeli police attacks on Shireen Abu Akleh funeral entourage emerge. Taken from CCTV security cameras inside the St. Josephs Hospital, the footage alegedly shows police storming the hospital and beating those inside .

  9. Jenny how to get there 9

    The shocking scenes at the funeral, and the death of the 51-year-old Palestinian American journalist, drew worldwide condemnation….

    https://www.dailysabah.com/world/mid-east/outcry-condemnations-at-israeli-crackdown-on-journalist-funeral

    Except in New Zealand. Now we know why New Zealand is left off world maps.

  10. It's good to be outraged. However it has not been proven that the IDF shot the journalist and the Palestinian Authority refuses to hand over the bullet, There were Palestinian armed groups operating at the time in clear contradiction of the Al Jazeera journalists and they would have a greater motive to kill her than the IDF would.

    • joe90 10.1

      Rule ##, don't cooperate with your oppressor's efforts to exonerate themselves.

      /

    • aom 10.2

      Oh really? Which planet do you live on Cantabrian? Do you really believe film and eye witness accounts mean nothing until a sniper's bullet is handed over for the Israeli authorities to dispose of it?

      For once, even the UN Security Council are unanimous in not accepting the usual Israeli bullshit at face value as reported by The Times of Israel'

    • Jenny how to get there 10.3

      To suggest that the Palestinians killed Shireen Abu Akleh to discredit Israel, is an obscene misdirection, suggesting that Palestinians are evil plotters willing to kill their own even a highly respected and world renowned journalist, who is a household name throughout the Arab world.

      We saw the same vile misdirection by the Russian media which accused the Syrian opposition to Assad of gassing their own civilians in the liberated territory to discredit the Assad regime..

      Cantabrian, in your vile racist effort to smear the Palestinian people, you just can't bring yourself to name Abu Akleh can you, it might humanise her.

      Repeat her name; Shireen Abu Akleh.

      Don’t forget Shireen’s name, Cantabrian, or again try to bury her memory, or the memory of all the other journalists deliberately killed and maimed in the illegally occcupied Palestinian territories, by the Israeli armed forces, they were targetted for attempting to bear witness to Israel’s racist atrocities and slow genocide and dispossion of the Palestian people in their own land.

      • Professor Longhair 10.3.1

        accused the Syrian opposition

        You're talking about the Al Nusra Front. Also known as ISIS.

        to Assad of gassing their own civilians in the liberated territory to discredit the Assad regime..

        Unlike the evidence against the Israeli regime, there is no credible case against the Syrian government. Your attempt to smear Syria by associating it with a real and documented crime of another government is, at best, ill advised.

        In its probe of an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) shunned the critical investigative area of forensic pathology, leaks obtained by The Grayzone reveal.

        Forensic pathology – the study of the cause and manner of death – could have helped solve the mystery surrounding dozens of civilians who died in Douma. Instead, senior OPCW officials thwarted any attempt to deploy the science and suppressed an internal recommendation that it be pursued.

        During the probe’s first weeks, leaked emails show, a senior OPCW official turned down a proposal to consult with a forensic pathologist at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), a top laboratory based nearby in The Hague. Denied this critical input, the Douma team’s original report then called for “an expert in forensic pathology… to provide an authoritative assessment.”

        Read more…

        https://thegrayzone.com/2021/12/06/corrupting-science-part2/

        • Macro 10.3.1.1

          WTF!

          Why would anyone, with any sense, read anything from that webshite – harbinger of misinformation, and RT propaganda.

          Good name though gray zone makes one think of gray water – full of detritus.

          But I guess you are a dedicated follower. sad

        • Jenny how to get there 10.3.1.2

          Greyzone is published by Max Blumenthal, a completely pro-Assad partisan source.

          Professor Longhair, when in comes to laundering irrefutable evidence of war crimes committed by oppressive regimes like Syria, (or Israel, or Russia). Personally, I think the opinion of a real professor, carries more weight than a pseudononymous, one, or an imbedded regime propagandist, like Bumenthal.

          Junket journalism in the shadow of genocide

          What a visit of a group of journalists and activists to Damascus can tell us about ‘laundering’ genocidal regimes.

          Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

          • Muhammad Idrees Ahmad is Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling.

          https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/max-blumenthal-assad-syria-verso/

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