Israel army apologises over Shireen Abu Akleh killing after one year

Israel army apologises over Shireen Abu Akleh killing after one year
2 min read
12 May, 2023
Israel has yet to launch a criminal investigation following Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh's killing a year ago.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian American journalist, was killed by Israeli forces a year ago on Thursday [Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Israel's army said "sorry" for Shireen Abu Akleh's death on the first anniversary of her killing by Israeli forces on Thursday.

Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian American, was a respected journalist who reported for the pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera for many years.

The Israeli army has admitted a soldier likely killed her but argued this wasn't intentional, though investigations by other organisations, including CNN, indicate that it was.

Army head spokesperson Daniel Hagari made the apology on Thursday – the first the military has given.

"[I] think it's an opportunity for me to say here that we are very sorry [for] the death of the late Shireen Abu Akleh," he told CNN.

"She was a journalist, a… very established journalist. In Israel, we are a democracy and in democracy we see high value in journalism and in [a] free press.

"We want journalists to feel safe in Israel, especially in war time, and even if they criticise us."

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Abu Akleh was killed as she reported on an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.

Israel has yet to launch a criminal investigation.

The Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ) on Tuesday said Abu Akleh's killing was "part of a deadly, decades-long pattern".

It said it had documented at least 20 killings of journalists by the Israeli military in a 22-year period.

"Despite numerous IDF [Israeli army] probes, no one has ever been charged or help responsible for these deaths," the CPJ said.

"The impunity in these cases has severely undermined the freedom of the press, leaving the rights of journalists in precarity."

Abu Akleh's brother urged justice for his sister at a recent meeting in the UK parliament.

Speaking from Jerusalem via Zoom, Anton Abu Akleh told lawmakers from both houses of the UK legislature that there had been no accountability for Shireen following her killing.

"She was clearly identified as a journalist. Justice is the least she deserves," he said.

Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot on Wednesday told The New Arab it was "very painful" to see the lack of accountability go on for a year.

He said: "It haunts you. And it makes you wonder about how are we going to leave a world for our children? What kind of a global system will we leave behind?"