CMEP calls on the United States to ensure a fair and independent investigation into Abu Akleh’s murder and to hold the responsible parties accountable.
By Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) | May 16, 2022
Freedom of the press must be protected, and the killing of journalists, especially when they are plainly distinguishable by their press vests, represents a clear violation of international law.
On Wednesday, May 11, Shireen Abu Akleh, a high-profile Palestinian-American journalist, was shot and killed while covering a raid conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the West Bank city of Jenin. Abu Akleh was wearing protective gear prominently marked with the English word “PRESS” when she was shot. Ali Samoudi, another journalist with Abu Akleh, was shot in the back during the same attack. Samoudi said the group of journalists Abu Akleh worked with that day had made Israeli forces aware they were present to cover the incursion. He also stated that in the attack, one bullet missed, the next one struck him in the back, and the next shot hit Abu Akleh. She was taken to the hospital soon thereafter and pronounced dead.
Israeli representatives, including the Israeli Prime Minister, initially suggested the journalist had been shot by Palestinian gunmen, but subsequently, Israeli officials have been more cautious in their public statements. Palestinian witnesses at the scene claim an Israeli sniper targeted the journalists. Following the killing, Israeli authorities circulated video footage of Palestinian gunmen firing down an alleyway, suggesting that it was this gunfire that killed Abu Akleh, but Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has since demonstrated that the footage was taken in a different part of the city from where Abu Akleh was killed.