On May 11, 2022, Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American journalist, was shot dead by Israeli forces according to the Palestinian Minister of Health.
Reporting for Al Jazeera from a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin a city in the occupied West Bank, Abu Akleh was wearig a blue vest with "PRESS" written on it while covering an Israeli military raid. Eye witnesses say Israeli snipers shot at her and a colleague, Ali al-Samoudi, who was also wounded by a bullet in the back, despite the fact that they were wearing full press uniforms including clearly marked press vests and helmets.
Shireen Abu Akleh was a leading journalist who had worked for Al Jazeera for 25 years. Initially, reports of her killing were attributed to Palestinians despite eyewitness accounts and video by seasoned journalists describing how Shireen was targeted by the Israeli military, and confirmation by rights groups like B’Tselem.
The New York Times failed to tell the truth, relying on Israeli disinformation rather than doing any investigative reporting of its own. To make matters worse, on Friday, as her coffin was being escorted to the Catholic church, the funeral procession was violently attacked by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), causing her coffin to be dropped.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Israelis have the “wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation.” But the Palestinians, expectedly, aren’t so sure. They ruled out a joint investigation and have refused to hand over the bullet for forensic examination.
According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), at least 46 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israel since the year 2000 and no one has been held to account.
Drawing wider attention to the context of the killing, Ramzi Baroud, a former Al Jazeera employee (serving as Deputy Managing Editor of Al Jazeera online), emphasized the extent of Israel’s targeting of Palestinian journalists:
“I think it's important that what we make very, very clear here, is that when you have these kind of numbers, when the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate, for example, says anywhere between 500 to 700 Palestinian journalists or journalists in Palestine are targeted by the Israeli occupation, and that nearly 50 of them have been killed since the Second Intifada in 2000. We are not talking about random incidents here. We are not talking about journalists being in the crossfire. We are talking about a targeted Israeli campaign that aims at silencing journalists, because journalists mean people who are there reporting and conveying the truth on what is happening in Palestine.”
In 2020, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said that Israeli forces had killed more than 46 Palestinian journalists since the Second Intifada in 2000. But the number now is thought to be well into the 50s.
Last May, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza destroyed al-Jalaa Tower which housed a number of media offices used by outlets including Al Jazeera, the Associated Press, Middle East Eye as well as other local media organizations.
The Israeli air force also destroyed al-Shorouk Tower which, according to Middle East Eye, housed seven media outlets and al-Jawhara tower, which housed several others.
The paper also reports that during the summer of 2014, Israel killed 17 Palestinian journalists during its war on Gaza.
In a video interview on Deep Dive Palestine, noted Palestinian journalist and author Dr. Ramzy Baroud said, "We are NOT talking about journalists being in the crossfire. We're talking about a targeted Israeli campaign that aims at silencing journalists and shielding the facts of its brutal occupation and ethnic cleansing".