May 2022 Vol 2 No 18

Your Editor, Jamari Mohtar, feels that when Israel has to stoop so low in murdering in cold blood a journalist in order to prevent her from reporting the truth about the brutal treatment of the Palestinians by the apartheid regime of Israel, it is a sign that the country is going down into oblivion, following the path of the former apartheid regime of South Africa after decades of apartheid system and policy.

  • Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian-American journalist who worked as a reporter for the Arabic-language channel Al Jazeera for 25 years, and was one of the most prominent names across the Middle East for her decades of reporting in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on May 11, despite wearing a blue vest with “PRESS” written on it.
  • Abu Akleh was shot in the face, on purpose, while doing what she has been doing since 1997 for Al Jazeera – telling the truth.
  • She was murdered for telling, yet again, the truth about how Israel has corralled, bludgeoned, “raided”, evicted, jailed, traumatised, tortured, murdered, and terrorised Palestinian after Palestinian, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.
  • She did her job well – with grace, patience and resilience despite the indignities, horrors and dangers. It was her duty, obligation, and responsibility to bear witness.
  • And Israel’s atrocities towards her was not only depicted in murdering her but also in death, her soul continued to be tortured by the wicked and uncivilised Israeli police and soldiers when they mercilessly beat up the unarmed and harmless mourners who had come to grieve for her death including the pallbearers.
  • Television pictures shown worldwide on how her casket almost fell to the ground on several occasions during her funeral due to the severe beatings of the Israeli security forces on the pallbearers are a testament on how dignity and respect for the dead was trampled by the uncivilised security forces of Israel.
  • This time around international condemnation for the killing and the brutal treatment of mourners were fast and furious. For the first time, Israel’s supreme protector and money giver, the US, has come out with supportive statements for the Palestinians, in contrast to an abstention or elegant silence of the past.
  • US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for “an immediate and credible investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death,” expressing his deep condolences for her loss and deep respect for the “work that she did as a journalist for many years – widely respected around the world.”
  • On the brutal treatment of the Israeli security forces on the unarmed mourners, Blinken said: “We are deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh. Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”
  • The US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, said “I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today (May 11) in Jenin.”
  • US State Department spokesman Ned Price said “we are heartbroken by and strongly condemn the killing”, calling it an “affront to media freedom everywhere” and said the perpetrators “must be held accountable”.
  • Price later said the US believes “the Israelis have the wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation.”
  • Meanwhile, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called Abu Akleh’s death “really horrifying,” and called for a transparent and thorough investigation.
  • She said protecting American citizens and journalists was “our highest priority.”Thomas-Greenfield said Abu Akleh did “an extraordinary interview” with her in the West Bank last November. “I left there feeling extraordinary respect for her,” she noted.
  • And in an unprecedented development, in her capacity as the President of the UN Security Council, Thomas-Greenfield issued a statement on behalf of the Council that members of the Council strongly condemned the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the injury of another journalist in the Palestinian city of Jenin on 11 May 2022.
  • The members of the Security Council conveyed their sympathy and deepest condolences to the victim’s family. They also called for an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation into her killing, and stressed the need to ensure accountability.
  • The members of the Security Council reiterated that journalists should be protected as civilians, and stressed that they continued to monitor the situation closely.
  • US speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter: “The killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is an horrific tragedy”, to which a rightful sarcastic rejoinder from Al Jazeera columnist, Andrew Mitrovica, was: “Newsflash, Speaker Pelosi, shooting a Palestinian-American journalist in the face on purpose is not a “tragedy”. It is a crime. We know, we know, Israeli soldiers never commit crimes.”
  • What is interesting here is that it took two days (May 13) for President Joe Biden to comment on the killing, and even then that was a result of a prompting from a journalist before a closed-door meeting at the White House between Biden and Jordanian King Abdullah II.
  • Biden was calling for an investigation of baton-wielding Israeli police who charged into the funeral procession for Abu Akleh after departing White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the incident “deeply disturbing.”
  • “We have all seen those images. They’re obviously deeply disturbing,” Psaki said at her final briefing before handing over the reins to incoming press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
  • “We believe this is a day where we should all be marking, including everyone there, the memory of a remarkable journalist who lost her life.” Psaki added: “We regret the intrusion into what should have been a peaceful procession. We’ve urged respect for the funeral procession, the mourners and the family at this sensitive time. We’re also in close touch with Israeli and Palestinian authorities – have been and obviously will continue to be, especially given the scene today.”
  • Moments later, Biden weighed in on the fracas while taking questions from reporters in the Rose Garden.
  • “Do you condemn the police force in Israel for their actions at the funeral of the Palestinian American journalist?” a reporter asked.
  • “I don’t know all the detail, but I know it has to be investigated,” Biden replied, without specifying who should do the investigation.
  • Although Biden is the only one with brief comment on the killing, it is quite unprecedented for a long list of US high-ranking officials to comment on such killing – a normal and routine affair in Israeli-occupied territories.
  • Perhaps, this has a lot to do with the Russia-Ukraine war where it is observed a double standard exists in which the US is very superfast in condemning perceived atrocities and injustices as compared to its abstentions and elegant silences on the real atrocities and injustices of Israel towards the Palestinians.
  • At the recent Asean-US Special Summit on May 14 in Washington, Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob was the only Asean leader courageous enough to bring up the issue of Israeli atrocities towards the Palestinians during the meeting with Biden.
  • He called for Washington to use its influence in resolving the Palestinian issue.
  • “Israeli atrocities must be stopped. The US must be honest in resolving the issue. If the US can take swift action in Ukraine, we want the same swift action to be taken on the Palestinian issue,” he said.
  • The US and its European allies seems to get a lukewarm response from many countries for its advocate of a global coalition of the willing to enforce sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine (See Diagram below).
  • Perhaps this was among the chief reason why a special summit of the US president with Asean leaders was held – ostensibly to get their buy-in in supporting the coalition of the willing to impose a global sanction on Russia instead of giving more emphasis on working via diplomacy to end the war.
  • On the Russia-Ukraine war, Asean told the US president it wanted the crisis to be resolved through the negotiation table, Ismail told the Malaysian media after attending the final session of the two-day special summit together with Biden and Asean leaders.
  • “War does not benefit anyone. In fact, many would suffer great losses because of the war,” added Ismail.
  • Ismail Sabri was spot on in his comment. But he should add more, i.e. war in the Russian and Ukrainian context will only enrich the military-industrial complex of the US and Europe in producing more lethal weapons of mass destruction.
  • In this context, Malaysia, he said, felt that the US should use its influence to help solve the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Ismail Sabri also said Malaysia pointed out that Southeast Asian countries were also affected by the war, especially in terms of the rise in inflation and food prices, hence the call for the war to be resolved through peaceful means.
  • Meanwhile, calls grow louder for actions against Israeli forces for the killing of the veteran journalist, especially after it transpired that CCTV footage released by St Joseph Hospital in the Occupied East Jerusalem showed Israeli forces storming its entrance. The Director General of St Joseph Hospital says 13 people were injured when police stormed inside.
  • The Roman Catholic clergy in Jerusalem strongly condemns actions of Israeli police at Abu Akleh’s funeral, adding that Israeli police were ‘disrespectful and disproportionate” in their use of force.
  • As the late Shireen Abu Akleh is a Christian, this goes to show that the Palestinian issue is not merely a Muslim or Islamic issue but an all-encompassing issue involving even Palestinian Christians who had been oppressed and are being continually oppressed along with their Muslim brethren by the brutal Zionist regime of Israel.
  • In Europe, French president, Emmanuel Macron has urged rapid Israeli investigation into the killing of the veteran journalist.
  • The European Union (EU) High Representative Josep Borrell, in a statement said: “The EU is appalled by the scenes unfolding on Friday during the funeral procession of the American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in occupied East Jerusalem. The EU condemns the disproportionate use of force and the disrespectful behaviour by the Israeli police against the participants of the mourning procession.
  • “Allowing for a peaceful farewell and letting mourners grieve in peace without harassment and humiliation, is the minimal human respect. The EU reiterates its call for a thorough and independent investigation that clarifies all the circumstances of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death that brings those responsible for her killing to justice.”
  • The UN human rights office also condemned the killing and demanded a transparent investigation. Noting that office representatives were on the ground verifying the facts, its human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s office said: “We are appalled at the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while covering an Israeli military operation in Jenin, Palestine.”
  • “We urge an independent, transparent investigation into her killing. Impunity must end,” the statement said.
  • Israel’s first reaction to the killing of veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was by attributing it to Palestinian gunmen, saying she was caught in the crossfire of clashes.
  • This is a well-know trademark response of denial and shifting the blame to the Palestinians by the Israel.
  • Why would a Palestinian gunman killed its own very icon who had spread and disseminate the truth about Israel’s atrocities on the Palestinians worldwide throughout her 25 years of reporting?
  • It doesn’t make sense. What makes sense is for Israel to stop these expose on its atrocities and inhumane treatment of the Palestinians by getting rid of the root cause of these expose – killing Abu Akleh in cold blood.
  • The very first statement on the killing by Israel was when the Israeli military’s Twitter feed said it was “investigating the event and looking into the possibility that journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen”.
  • That explanation was echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who said “armed Palestinians shot in an inaccurate, indiscriminate, and uncontrolled manner” during the IDF’s operation.
  • “Our forces from the IDF returned fire as accurately, carefully, and responsibly as possible. Sadly, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in the exchange,” Bennett said.
  • The Israeli foreign ministry shared a video of Palestinian gunmen active in the city on that day to back up these claims.
  • Its army chief Lt Gen Aviv Kochavi then said: “At this stage, we cannot determine by whose fire she was harmed and we regret her death.”
  • But for its accurate, careful and responsible returned fire, the IDF failed to kill any Palestinian gunmen then making its account of the killing of Abu Akleh a real fantasy.
  • Moreover, multiple witnesses, said that it is more likely she was shot by IDF forces than Palestinian. If that bears out, Abu Akleh’s killing will fit into a larger pattern of attacks on the press in Palestine and in the systemic violence against Palestinians more broadly.
  • Also, a researcher with the preeminent Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem analysed the footage and reported that the gunman in the video was in a separate location in Jenin entirely.
  • Moreover, Ali Samoudi, Abu Akleh’s producer, who was also shot said Israeli forces shot Abu Akleh. Two Palestinian witnesses also attributed the killing to Israeli forces, telling the Times of Israel that the buildings around the area were filled with soldiers.
  • A fragment of the bullet was removed from her head during the autopsy. The director of the Palestinian forensic institute said he was not yet able to identify who fired it. And if, as Israeli officials told the New York Times, both sides were firing M16 rifles, it might be ultimately difficult to determine who fired it without testing individual rifles.
  • Regardless, Samoudi said there were no armed Palestinian fighters nearby and that Abu Akleh was killed “in cold blood.”
  • Israeli leaders, including the prime minister do not usually make pronouncements about such things. That they issued statements along these lines about Abu Akleh shows the weight of this killing.
  • The last two months have seen a significant uptick in violence in Israel and Palestine, with the most deaths. Amnesty International has documented 34 Palestinians killed, including six children, in March and April, and 18 people have been killed in Israeli cities in attacks in recent weeks.
  • “You only have this happen because there is no addressing of root cause, which is apartheid, because Israel is able to enjoy this impunity, mainly because of the role that the US and other Western allies play,” the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East programme, Saleh Hijazi said.
  • Israel has maintained that it is committed to investigations, including one devoted to Abu Akleh’s death.
  • But again its trademark response for delaying an investigation is fully exhibited when Bennet said: “To uncover the truth, there must be a real investigation, and the Palestinians are currently preventing that. Without a serious investigation, we will not reach the truth.”
  • Bennett was referring to an earlier statement of the Israeli government saying it would jointly investigate the killing with the Palestinian Authority, but the Palestinian side declined to provide Abu Akleh’s body or share the bullet that killed her with Israeli authorities.
  • Since when Israel suddenly becomes buddy-buddy in wanting the Palestinian Authority which it looked down on, to be a partner in investigating the crime of its soldiers.
  • According to analysts, the Palestinian refusal has a lot to do with the Israeli government not having a good track record of investigating its own crimes.
  • Israel doesn’t allow international investigations of violations in the country or the occupied territories, and in recent years has chosen not to cooperate or provide access to UN commissions or special rapporteurs.
  • Israel has even designated the premier Palestinian rights organization Al-Haq as a terrorist organisation in what experts called retribution for Al-Haq’s documentation of violations on the ground.
  • It is quite telling that even an Israeli rights group has no confidence in investigations spearheaded by Israel.
  • “No one should believe the Israeli promises to quote-unquote investigate what has happened because the promise of investigations are nothing but the first step in Israel’s organised whitewash,” said Hagai El-Ad, executive director of the rights group B’Tselem.
  • “Israel is unable and unwilling to conduct such investigations which opens the door to international legal responsibility.”
  • B’Tselem has stopped cooperating with the Israeli government on investigations. Israel tends to stretch out the investigations as long as possible and in the end fails to hold military leaders to account, according to El-Ad.
  • Israel treats every incident as an extraordinarily exceptional occurrence, and the investigations always push the responsibility down to the lowest level of soldiers.
  • And that’s because it’s the army that’s investigating the army.
  • Analysts say the situation reflects the larger structural dynamic. “Their calls for investigations [are] as if it’s a few bad apples in a situation that’s otherwise normal, but that’s not the reality.
  • “Palestinians live in a situation of grave underlying structural violence. This underlying daily reality of apartheid and the cold violence of structural repression leads to the hot violence of bloodshed and the killing of Palestinians,” says Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch.
  • Finally, Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz announced an investigation and released body-cam footage from the army, striking a more cautious tone than earlier Israeli statements.
  • If an investigation ultimately does find Israeli soldiers responsible, it wouldn’t be the first time the country’s military has targeted the press.
  • Israel has killed more than 50 Palestinian journalists since 2001, according to the Palestinian Journalism Syndicate, while Reporters Without Borders has recorded more than 144 journalists injured in just the last four years.
  • “In terms of the event itself, unfortunately, it is not unique, not different,” says Hijazi. “It fits a pattern, a pattern of unlawful killing, and also a pattern of targeting journalists and human rights defenders.”
  • The big question now is with the global condemnations on the killing including from its supreme protector and money giver, the US, which has demanded a thorough, transparent and independent investigation, along with the EU and UN Security Council, it remains to be seen whether Israel will drag its feet in carrying out the investigation.
  • With Israel well known for ignoring and violating UN Resolutions, it will be more interesting to watch the reactions of US, EU and UN Security Council in the event Israel drags its feet in carrying out the investigation or refuses to investigate the killing.
    Read more on the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in cold blood by Israel and the accompanying global condemnations on it:
    Shireen Abu Akleh and the eternal dilemma
    US demands ‘immediate and thorough’ probe into journalist’s death in West Bank
    • On May 11, Bersatu secretary-general Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin defended party hopping as an acceptable action and that it was made in the interest of the people.
    • He said party hopping occurs at both the grassroots and leadership levels of parties.
    • “Even former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad did it. It is for the public’s benefit, not the individual,” he said, adding that party hopping was a norm and had been happening for years.
    • Saying “let bygones be bygones”, Hamzah said it was unnecessary to bring up the events of the last three years, a reference to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
    • It collapsed because almost all Bersatu MPs and some PKR MPs left to form the Perikatan Nasional coalition with PAS and Umno.
    • “What is important is that the current government is stable and the people have a strong leader to guide them,” he said.
    • Earlier former minister Mohamaddin Ketapi, who hopped from Warisan to Bersatu, said every individual in a developed country had the right to make their own choice.
    • But Pakatan MPs have poured scorn on Hamzah’s claim that party hopping benefitted the people.
    • DAP’s Charles Santiago questioned if Hamzah defended party hopping because he was planning to jump ship again.
    • “His claim goes against what the people want – a stable government, especially after the Sheraton Move,” he said, referring to the political realignment involving Bersatu, PAS, Barisan Nasional, and several former PKR MPs that ultimately caused the collapse of the PH-led federal government.
    • Meanwhile, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil said while the home minister was entitled to his opinion, Malaysians deserved a better democracy without party hopping.
    • “People are tired of party hoppers since such acts have eroded the confidence of voters towards the democratic process. (Party) hopping which is induced by threat or greed also breeds corruption and is bad for the nation,” he said.
    • Another PKR MP, Maria Chin Abdullah described Hamzah’s remarks as delusional. She said that Hamzah’s remarks were a “good indication” that the tabling of the long-awaited anti-hopping bill on June 7 might not happen.
    • But the hypocrisy of these Pakatan MPs lies in that when Hamzah and some other Umno MPs hopped from Umno to Bersatu three years ago, they were all tight lipped and did not criticise at all these party hopping, as they do now.
    • They kept mum because the party hopping done by Hamzah and company then strengthened PH because Bersatu then was a component party of PH, and weakened the opposition Umno.
    • Suddenly now they become loudmouth on the matter. Why?
    • Because Bersatu is no longer with PH and the same party hopping of three years ago which strengthened them has now weakened them.
    • It’s like the pot calling the kettle black when they accused Hamzah of having no principles in politics. They are all practising the politics of expediency.
    • And while Hamzah made his statement in the context of advising people not to harp on long-ago matter, these Pakatan MPs responded to Hamzah with ill intention by concluding that Hamzah’s remarks were a “good indication” that the tabling of the long-awaited anti-hopping bill on June 7 might not happen.
    • Don’t these Pakatan MPs realise that they would have to swallow back their allegation when anti-hopping bill is tabled on June 7?
    • That’s the quality of Pakatan MPs these days, which does not augur well for a Pakatan victory in the next General Election.
      Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian-American journalist who worked as a reporter for the Arabic-language channel Al Jazeera for 25 years, and was one of the most prominent names across the Middle East for her decades of reporting in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on May 11, despite wearing a blue vest with “PRESS” written on it.
      Abu Akleh was shot in the face, on purpose, while doing what she has been doing since 1997 for Al Jazeera – telling the truth.
      She was murdered for telling, yet again, the truth about how Israel has corralled, bludgeoned, “raided”, evicted, jailed, traumatised, tortured, murdered, and terrorised Palestinian after Palestinian, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.
      She did her job well – with grace, patience and resilience despite the indignities, horrors and dangers. It was her duty, obligation, and responsibility to bear witness.
      And Israel’s atrocities towards her was not only depicted in murdering her but also in death, her soul continued to be tortured by the wicked and uncivilised Israeli police and soldiers when they mercilessly beat up the unarmed and harmless mourners who had come to grieve for her death including the pallbearers.
      Television pictures shown worldwide on how her casket almost fell to the ground on several occasions during her funeral due to the severe beatings of the Israeli security forces on the pallbearers are a testament on how dignity and respect for the dead was trampled by the uncivilised security forces of Israel.
      This time around international condemnation for the killing and the brutal treatment of mourners were fast and furious. For the first time, Israel’s supreme protector and money giver, the US, has come out with supportive statements for the Palestinians, in contrast to an abstention or elegant silence of the past.
      US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for “an immediate and credible investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death,” expressing his deep condolences for her loss and deep respect for the “work that she did as a journalist for many years – widely respected around the world.”
      On the brutal treatment of the Israeli security forces on the unarmed mourners, Blinken said: “We are deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Shireen Abu Akleh. Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”
      The US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, said “I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today (May 11) in Jenin.”
      US State Department spokesman Ned Price said “we are heartbroken by and strongly condemn the killing”, calling it an “affront to media freedom everywhere” and said the perpetrators “must be held accountable”.
      Price later said the US believes “the Israelis have the wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation.”
      Meanwhile, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called Abu Akleh’s death “really horrifying,” and called for a transparent and thorough investigation.
      She said Abu Akleh did “an extraordinary interview” with her in the West Bank last November. “I left there feeling extraordinary respect for her,” she noted.
      And in an unprecedented development, in her capacity as the President of the UN Security Council, Thomas-Greenfield issued a statement on behalf of the Council that strongly condemned the killing of Abu Akleh.
      The members of the Security Council conveyed their sympathy and deepest condolences to the victim’s family and also called for an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation into her killing, and stressed the need to ensure accountability.
      They reiterated that journalists should be protected as civilians, and stressed that they continued to monitor the situation closely.
      US speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter: “The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is an horrific tragedy”, to which a rightful sarcastic rejoinder from Al Jazeera columnist, Andrew Mitrovica, was: “Newsflash, Speaker Pelosi, shooting a Palestinian-American journalist in the face on purpose is not a “tragedy”. It is a crime. We know, we know, Israeli soldiers never commit crimes.”
      What is interesting here is that it took two days (May 13) for President Joe Biden to comment on the killing, and even then that was a result of a prompting from a journalist.
      It is quite unprecedented for a long list of US high-ranking officials to comment on such killing – a normal and routine affair in Israeli-occupied territories.
      Perhaps, this has a lot to do with the Russia-Ukraine war where it is observed a double standard exists in which the US is very superfast in condemning perceived atrocities and injustices as compared to its abstentions and elegant silences on the real atrocities and injustices of Israel towards the Palestinians.
      At the recent Asean-US Special Summit on May 14 in Washington, Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob was the only Asean leader courageous enough to bring up the issue of Israeli atrocities towards the Palestinians during the meeting with Biden.
      He called for Washington to use its influence in resolving the Palestinian issue. “Israeli atrocities must be stopped. The US must be honest in resolving the issue. If the US can take swift action in Ukraine, we want the same swift action to be taken on the Palestinian issue,” he said.
      The US and its European allies seems to get a lukewarm response from many countries for its advocate of a global coalition of the willing to enforce sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine (See Diagram below).
      Perhaps this was among the chief reason why a special summit of the US president with Asean leaders was held – ostensibly to get their buy-in in supporting the coalition of the willing to impose a global sanction on Russia, instead of giving more emphasis on working via diplomacy to end the war.
      On the Russia-Ukraine war, Asean told the US president it wanted the crisis to be resolved through the negotiation table, Ismail told the Malaysian media. “War does not benefit anyone. In fact, many would suffer great losses because of the war,” added Ismail.
      Ismail Sabri was spot on in his comment. But he should add more, i.e. the Russia-Ukraine war will only enrich the military-industrial complex of the US and Europe in producing more lethal weapons of mass destruction.
      In this context, Malaysia, he said, felt that the US should use its influence to help solve the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
      Ismail Sabri also said Malaysia pointed out that Southeast Asian countries were also affected by the war, especially in terms of the rise in inflation and food prices, hence the call for the war to be resolved through peaceful means.
      Meanwhile, calls grow louder for actions against Israeli forces for the killing of the veteran journalist, especially after it transpired that CCTV footage released by St Joseph Hospital in the Occupied East Jerusalem showed Israeli forces storming its entrance where 13 people were injured.
      The Roman Catholic clergy in Jerusalem strongly condemns actions of Israeli police at Abu Akleh’s funeral, adding that Israeli police were ‘disrespectful and disproportionate” in their use of force.
      As the late Shireen Abu Akleh is a Christian, this goes to show that the Palestinian issue is not merely a Muslim or Islamic issue but an all-encompassing issue involving even Palestinian Christians who had been oppressed and are being continually oppressed along with their Muslim brethren by the brutal Zionist regime of Israel.
      The European Union (EU) High Representative Josep Borrell, in a statement said the EU condemns the disproportionate use of force and the disrespectful behaviour by the Israeli police against the participants of the mourning procession.
      “Allowing for a peaceful farewell and letting mourners grieve in peace without harassment and humiliation, is the minimal human respect.
      The EU reiterates its call for a thorough and independent investigation that clarifies all the circumstances of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death that brings those responsible for her killing to justice,” the statement added.
      Israel’s first reaction to the killing was attributing it to Palestinian gunmen, and that she was caught in the crossfire of clashes. This is a well-know trademark response of denial and shifting the blame to the Palestinians by Israel.
      Why would Palestinian gunmen killed its own very icon who had disseminated the truth about Israel’s atrocities on the Palestinians worldwide throughout her 25 years of reporting?
      It doesn’t make sense. What makes sense is for Israel to stop these expose on its atrocities and inhumane treatment of the Palestinians by getting rid of the root cause of these expose – killing Abu Akleh in cold blood.
      The very first statement on the killing by Israel was when its military said it was “investigating the event and looking into the possibility that journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen”.
      That explanation was echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who said “armed Palestinians shot in an inaccurate, indiscriminate, and uncontrolled manner” during the IDF’s operation.
      “Our forces from the IDF returned fire as accurately, carefully, and responsibly as possible. Sadly, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in the exchange,” Bennett said.
      But for its accurate, careful and responsible returned fire, the IDF failed to kill a single Palestinian gunmen then, making its account of the killing of Abu Akleh a real fantasy.
      Moreover, multiple witnesses said that it is more likely she was shot by IDF forces than Palestinian. Also, a researcher with the preeminent Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem analysed the footage and reported that the gunman in the video was in a separate location in Jenin entirely.
      Moreover, Ali Samoudi, Abu Akleh’s producer, who was also shot said Israeli forces shot Abu Akleh. Two Palestinian witnesses also attributed the killing to Israeli forces, telling the Times of Israel that the buildings around the area were filled with soldiers.
      A fragment of the bullet was removed from her head during the autopsy. The director of the Palestinian forensic institute said he was not yet able to identify who fired it. And if, as Israeli officials told the New York Times, both sides were firing M16 rifles, it might be ultimately difficult to determine who fired it without testing individual rifles.
      Regardless, Samoudi said there were no armed Palestinian fighters nearby and that Abu Akleh was killed “in cold blood.”
      The last two months have seen a significant uptick in violence in Israel and Palestine, with the most deaths. Amnesty International has documented 34 Palestinians killed, including six children, in March and April, and 18 people have been killed in Israeli cities in attacks in recent weeks.
      “You only have this happen because there is no addressing of root cause, which is apartheid, because Israel is able to enjoy this impunity, mainly because of the role that the US and other Western allies play,” the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East programme, Saleh Hijazi said.
      Israel has maintained that it is committed to investigations, including one devoted to Abu Akleh’s death.
      But again its trademark response for delaying an investigation is fully exhibited when Bennet said: “To uncover the truth, there must be a real investigation, and the Palestinians are currently preventing that. Without a serious investigation, we will not reach the truth.”
      Bennett was referring to an earlier statement of the Israeli government saying it would jointly investigate the killing with the Palestinian Authority, but the Palestinian side declined to provide Abu Akleh’s body or share the bullet that killed her with Israeli authorities.
      Since when Israel suddenly becomes buddy-buddy in wanting the Palestinian Authority which it looked down on, to be a partner in investigating the crime of its soldiers.
      According to analysts, the Palestinian refusal has a lot to do with the Israeli government not having a good track record of investigating its own crimes.
      Israel doesn’t allow international investigations of violations in the country or the occupied territories, and in recent years has chosen not to cooperate or provide access to UN commissions or special rapporteurs.
      Israel has even designated the premier Palestinian rights organization Al-Haq as a terrorist organisation in what experts called retribution for Al-Haq’s documentation of violations on the ground.
      It is quite telling that even an Israeli rights group has no confidence in investigations spearheaded by Israel.
      “No one should believe the Israeli promises to quote-unquote investigate what has happened because the promise of investigations are nothing but the first step in Israel’s organised whitewash,” said Hagai El-Ad, executive director of the rights group B’Tselem.
      “Israel is unable and unwilling to conduct such investigations which opens the door to international legal responsibility.”
      B’Tselem has stopped cooperating with the Israeli government on investigations. Israel tends to stretch out the investigations as long as possible and in the end fails to hold military leaders to account, according to El-Ad.
      Israel treats every incident as an extraordinarily exceptional occurrence, and the investigations always push the responsibility down to the lowest level of soldiers.
      And that’s because it’s the army that’s investigating the army.
      Analysts say the situation reflects the larger structural dynamic. “Their calls for investigations are as if it’s a few bad apples in a situation that’s otherwise normal, but that’s not the reality.
      “Palestinians live in a situation of grave underlying structural violence. This underlying daily reality of apartheid and the cold violence of structural repression leads to the hot violence of bloodshed and the killing of Palestinians,” says Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch.
      Finally, Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz announced an investigation and released body-cam footage from the army, striking a more cautious tone than earlier Israeli statements.
      If an investigation ultimately does find Israeli soldiers responsible, it wouldn’t be the first time the country’s military has targeted the press.
      The big question now is with the global condemnations on the killing including from its supreme protector and money giver, the US, which has demanded a thorough, transparent and independent investigation, along with the EU and UN Security Council, it remains to be seen whether Israel will drag its feet in carrying out the investigation.
      With Israel well known for ignoring and violating UN Resolutions, it will be more interesting to watch the reactions of US, EU and UN Security Council in the event Israel drags its feet in carrying out the investigation or refuses to investigate the killing.
      Regards,
      Jamari Mohtar
      Editor, Let’s Talk!