In occupied Palestine, Shireen Abu Akleh, an accomplished journalist, was killed by Israeli gunfire earlier this week.
Abu Akleh was gathered among a group of journalists outside of a refugee camp in the tcity of Jenin, the site of recent incursions. Journalist Shatha Hanaysha gave eyewitness account that the group of journalists made their presence known to Israeli forces for 10 minutes before moving uphill towards the camp. No warning shots were fired.
Middle East Eye reports, “Her colleague, Al Jazeera producer Ali al-Samoudi was hit first in the back. Abu Akleh and Hanaysha were trapped on the other side of the street, with their backs to the wall for cover.”
Hanaysha said that a bullet pierced Shireen’s neck, falling to the ground beside her.
Israeli soldiers and army said they were conducting an operation at the time, and tried to blame Palestinian fighters for the shooting. Israel and the US embassy rushed to tweet a video of Palestinian gunmen in Jenin firing down an alley, suggesting that somehow, Palestinians are to blame.
At her funeral, Israeli forces fired stun grenades and assaulted mourners who were carrying the coffin of the slain journalist. An Al Jazeera journalist said, “Even in her death, Shireen has exposed the actions of occupation forces.”
Experts at the UN said, “The killing of Abu Akleh is another serious attack on media freedom and freedom of expression…”
It is apparent, unsurprising, and usual that the murder of a journalist by Israel will not turn heads of officials. Human rights violations, international law violations seem to only be considered when the perpetrator is not the US, its allies, or Israel.
Although many Congress members called for an “objective” investigation into the murder, we are aware too well that a country that gives $3.8 billion to Israel is incapable of holding objectivity as a frame of reference to Israel. The fact that Abu Akleh was an American citizen has been used as a way to frame her humanity, her relatability to the average American. American officials emphasizing that Abu Akleh was an American citizen is a poor attempt to draw humanity from nationality rather than simply viewing Palestinians as humans.
Israel excels in violating human rights and international law to no repercussions. Settlement expansion and apartheid conditions of occupied Palestinians persist, with no regard to the law. When Israel’s allies include the US, with its enormous budget dedicated to the occupier, there is little that international law can do to bring justice to Palestinians.