51-year-old Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was covering an Israeli military raid in the Jenin refugee camp this morning when soldiers shot her in the face and killed her. Both her blue protective vest and her helmet were clearly marked “PRESS.”
In a video showing the aftermath of Shireen being shot, a man can be heard yelling, “Injured! Shireen, Shireen, oh man, Shireen! Ambulance!” Al Jazeera journalist Shatha Hanaysha, also wearing a helmet and vest marked as press, can be seen crouching down trying to reach Shireen but being forced back by Israeli gunfire. The soldiers “did not stop firing even after she collapsed,” Hanaysha said. “I couldn’t even extend my arm to pull her because of the shots. The army was adamant on shooting to kill.”
Following their killing of Shireen, the Israeli military took to Twitter to announce that they were investigating the possibility that Shireen had been killed “by Palestinian armed gunfire.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry offered to conduct a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority and Israeli military spokesperson Kochav Ran on Army radio accused her and her colleagues of being “ armed with cameras.”
“I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin,” tweeted U.S. Ambassador Tom Nides. But, he didn’t specify that Israel must not be allowed to investigate and exonerate itself as has happened far too many times.
Call on the U.S. State Department to require a full investigation — not by Israel — into the grotesque and blatant murder of Shireen Abu Akleh. The U.S. must immediately suspend military aid to Israel pending the investigation.
Unfortunately, there’s more. As the Palestinian people and advocacy community were mourning Shireen’s death, Israeli police descended upon Shireen’s family home where they confiscated the Palestinian flags flying outside. Elsewhere this morning, Israeli bulldozers started to forcibly displace the Masafer Yatta Palestinian villages in the South Hebron hills.
The Biden administration has repeatedly said that it is committed to equal measures of freedom, security, dignity, and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis. But, in the words of author and activist Grace Paley, “the only recognizable feature of hope is action.” Join CODEPINK in calling for action. Demand justice for Shireen.