NGOs condemn, urge 'independent investigation' into Israel's killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
Several NGOs are calling for an independent investigation into the killing of veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot by Israeli forces on Wednesday as she was covering a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin for television network Al Jazeera.
Abu Akleh, considered an icon in the Arab world for her journalism, was rushed to hospital, where she died soon after.
The UK-based National Union of Journalists, among other organisations, condemned Abu Akleh’s killing and called on those responsible to be held accountable.
Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ’s General Secretary called the incident "an appalling act of violence".
"There must be a full investigation into the circumstances. The apparent targeting of a journalist is a matter of grave concern and it cannot be left to military authorities to investigate the behaviour of their own forces," she added.
#NUJ condemns killing of respected journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli army in Jenin. https://t.co/YZU0bXdL0J— NUJ (@NUJofficial) May 11, 2022
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)’s General Secretary Anthony Bellenger pledged in a press release to "add the murder to the case lodged at the International Criminal Court (ICC)" which details the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists.
He added that demands to an end to, and justice for, Israeli targeting and killing of Palestinian journalists are just as necessary as calls for justice for Ukrainian journalists, who have been targeted by Russian forces over the course of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
IFJ GS @abellanger49 on the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh 👇— IFJ (@IFJGlobal) May 11, 2022
"While the full details of this horrific murder are still emerging, testimony from journalists who were with her when she was killed point towards this being another deliberate... (1/4) pic.twitter.com/ovz8jJdBxX
"The killing of veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is a horrific reminder of the deadly system of apartheid which Israel imposes on Palestinians," Amnesty International’s Kristyan Benedict told The New Arab.
Benedict condemned Israel for killing Palestinians with impunity, and criticised the international community for failing to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity, which "only contributes to more death, injustice, and misery".
"States have a moral and legal responsibility to take immediate action to end the continuing crimes perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians, which help to maintain the obscenity of apartheid," he added.
Abu Akleh’s shock death has drawn immense condemnations from colleagues and fellow journalists alike, who have unanimously expressed sadness and devastation at her killing, calling a "dark day for journalism".
Palestinian journalists, correspondents and reporters are systemically targeted by Israeli forces, who have killed 49 professionals between 2000 and 2020, according to the Palestinian Journalism Syndicate.
Israel has also conducted violent raids in the West Bank - specifically Jenin and Al-Aqsa Mosque - killing dozens of Palestinians in recent weeks.
Hundreds have also been injured and arrested by occupying Israeli forces.