(Photo credit: DW)
On 20 May, over 50 US lawmakers petitioned the FBI to open an investigation into the murder by Israeli forces of Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Aqla.
In a letter addressed to US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, 57 House members, led by Representative Andre Carson, said that as an American, Shireen Abu Aqla was entitled to the full protections afforded to US citizens living abroad, and further, that:
“Given the tenuous situation in the region and the conflicting reports surrounding the death of Ms. Abu Akla, we request the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation launch an investigation into Ms. Abu Aqla’s death”.
Two days ago, media outlet Haaretz reported that the Israeli Military Police Criminal Investigation Division has no plans to investigate the killing.
According to the report, occupation authorities believe that questioning Israeli forces will cause controversy among the army and society.
Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Michael Herzog, commented on the letter by US lawmakers, saying that it was not a “fair” representation of what happened.
Abu Aqla was deliberately targeted and shot in the head by Israeli troops as she was covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.
On 21 May, Al-Jazeera confirmed the veracity of a new video which shows the moments leading up to the murder.
The video corroborates eyewitness accounts, which said there were no clashes in the area as the team of journalists prepared to cover Israeli raids in Jenin, contrary to what Israel and a number of western media outlets reported after the killing.
Condemnation has recently grown over the disingenuous coverage given by western media outlets to Abu Aqla’s murder, as a number of outlets, including the New York Times (NYT) and Associated Press (AP), have attempted to whitewash the killing by reporting that she was killed in ‘clashes’, or Palestinian ‘gunfire’.
“Instead of reporting the facts – as confirmed by other journalists present at the scene, by video footage and by rights groups like B’Tselem – western media has simply parroted talking points from the Israeli military,” Sonya E Meyerson-Knox, communications director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), told Middle East Eye.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Marc Owen Jones, an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, said: “The Israeli state is very used to managing these crisis situations in which they kill Palestinian citizens or journalists … So, what they have done is already had a narrative, and that narrative is that there’s ambiguity about the killing of Shireen.
Last month, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians submitted a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court accusing Israel of systematically targeting journalists working in Palestine.
The IFJ has repeatedly condemned Israel’s deliberate targeting of journalists and media facilities in occupied Palestine.