The Slaughter of the Free Word In Israel
By Dr. Elias Akleh
Once again, for the nth time, the Terrorist Israeli Death Forces (TIDF) have murdered in cold blood another Palestinian journalist; 51 years old Al-Jazeera TV broadcaster Shireen Abu Akleh. She was shot in the neck; the only unprotected part of her body while wearing a helmet and a protective vest; both marked clearly with a “PRESS” sign. She died instantly.
On the early morning of Wednesday, May 11th, the Al-Jazeera news team including Shireen Abu Akleh traveled to Jenin refugee camp to cover yet another Terrorist Israeli Death Force’s (TIDF) raid against a Palestinian home. This has been almost a daily routine for this news team. Alas, it became the last day in the life of Abu Akleh. While standing in the open, clearly identified as a journalist, an Israeli sniper fired her/his rifle targeting Abu Akleh in the neck and wounding her companion reporter; Ali al-Samoudi in the back.
As part of its genocidal ethnic cleansing policy, Terrorist Israeli Death Forces (TIDF) conduct daily raids against Palestinian towns and refugee camps usually before dawn. They raid homes terrorizing families and children still sleeping, ransack homes, loot valuables, arrest teenagers and completely raze down the house with bulldozers. To justify its terrorist raids against Palestinian homes Israel claims that it is conducting “counterterrorism activities”, while the Israeli soldiers, themselves, are spreading terror.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report, of May 12th, 2022, Israel had demolished 8,413 Palestinian structures; mainly homes, displacing and throwing 12,491families with their children in the streets. According to The Intercept, the UN’s tally of demolitions carried out since Biden’s inauguration eclipsed 1,000 homes. In the 13 months since Biden took office over 1,300 Palestinians, the majority of whom are children, have been displaced by such demolitions.
The murder of journalist Abu Akleh reflects the Israeli policy of targeting and killing journalists and human rights defenders, who have been exposing to the world the Israeli ethnic cleansing brutal policy against Palestinian civilians.
Israel has murdered more than 50 Palestinian journalists since 2001, according to the Palestinian Journalism Syndicate, and Reporters Without Borders has recorded more than 144 journalists injured in just the last four years. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate counts annually between 500 – 700 Israeli attacks and crimes against Palestinian journalists
During the 2018 Palestinian Great March of Return in Gaza, when Palestinians used to march toward the separation fence between the Gaza Strip and occupied Palestine, Reporters without Borders documented more than 140 Israeli attacks on Palestinian journalists covering the March. For just a few examples let’s mention Journalists Hussein and Mortaja were killed on the spot by Israeli snipers on the other side of the fence, Al-Kronz was shot in both legs, Yahya Khalid and Sami Misran were blinded in one eye by bullet fragments, Ali Jadallah sustained serious head injury by a rubber-coated bullet. There are many more.
All these murders and attacks do not include Abu Akleh nor several other international journalists; two Italians, one Turk, and one Welshman just to mention the well-known. Raffaele Ciriello, 42, an Italian veteran journalist who covered conflicts in Afghanistan and Kosovo, was shot by Israeli fire near the Manara Square in Ramallah during fierce gunbattles between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants on 11 March 2002.
He reported for Corriere della Sera. James Henry Dominic Miller, 34, a Welsh cameraman, producer, director, and an Emmy Awards winner, was killed by Israeli forces while he was filming a documentary in Rafah in Gaza Strip on 2 May 2003.
Cevdet Kiliclar, a Turkish Journalist who was killed by an Israeli commander’s unit, stormed the Mavi Marmara ship that sailed for Gaza on 31 May 2010. And while we are at it, let’s mention the other seventeen Palestinians, who worked in media and journalism, killed during Israel’s 51-days in July and August 2014 military offensive against the Gaza
The murder of Abu Akleh comes just days after the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians filed a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court accusing Israel of “systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists”. The complaint also cited the “targeting and bombing” of buildings housing media in the Gaza Strip, including the Israeli air raid that destroyed the 11-story al-Jalaa building, which housed Al Jazeera and Associated Press offices, in May 2021.
All these blatant Israeli crimes against journalists are serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and UN Security Council Resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists. They also could be considered war crimes. Yet Israelis, the so-called “Yahweh’s chosen people” don’t care about all these mundane moral laws.
Due to the fact that Shireen Abu Akleh has been a media icon, whose face and reports have reached virtually every house in the Arab World and many in the West due to Al-Jazeera broadcasting, her murder had sent a shock wave throughout the world. Israel’s terrorist ugly face was exposed one more time.
To protects its image Israeli government first claimed that Palestinian “terrorists” had shot Abu Akleh while exchanging skirmishes with the Israeli forces. When this silly childish explanation was refuted by many eyewitnesses on the ground and video films proving that there was no exchange of fire at the time of the murder, the Israeli government circulated a video of a gunman firing down an alley claiming that he had shot Abu Akleh.
The irony here is that the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem had conducted an investigation of the video by its local researcher, and showed that the gunman was firing down an alley in the densely populated refugee camp that was nowhere near the entrance to the camp where Abu Akleh and other journalists had been shot.
A video clip of the effort to rescue Abu Akleh shows that anyone who approached her was fired on, which suggests that the group of journalists was under deliberate attack and not just subject to indiscriminate fire.
Why would a Palestinian fighter target a Palestinian journalist and those Palestinians, who were trying to retrieve her body?
Immediately after the murder of Abu Akleh, the Israeli forces raided and ransacked her East Jerusalem home in an event to prevent any gathering there while the family was making arrangements for her funeral.
But young Palestinians insisted on carrying Abu Akleh’s body on their shoulders, wrapped with the Palestinian flag and flowers, all the way from Jenin to Ramallah, to the Palestinian Authority headquarters, where she received an official procession accompanied by the Palestinian national anthem to bid her farewell and honor; a procession as glorious as that of late PLO leader Arafat.
Abu Akleh’s body was then carried again to a hospital in the old city of Jerusalem in preparation for carrying it to the nearby church for the last religious Christian rites. What many readers may not be aware of is that Abu Akleh is a very well-known Christian Palestinian extended family. Similar to the rest of the Christian and Moslem Palestinian families, the Abu Akleh family had suffered a great deal from the Zionist Israeli occupation, which confiscated many of Abu Akleh’s properties and evicted them out of their homes and land, in Nazareth, Haifa, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The Christian Western world, especially those Zionist Christians, should take notice that the Judaic religious belief considers Christians as well as all other non-Jewish nations, the goys, as animal souls, the racist Judaic god Yahweh, had created in human bodies only to serve the Jews; his chosen people.
In 1948, during the Palestinian Nakba; Zionist occupation of Palestine, military Jewish gangs slaughtered Christian as well as Moslem Palestinians indiscriminately. They raided and burned both churches and mosques while defiling and looting religious artifacts. Israeli Jewish students at Judaic religious schools; yeshivas have the habit of insulting and spitting on Christian Clergy in the street of Old Jerusalem, writing insulting graffiti, and burning property of Christian churches, they take pride in blasphemy against Jesus Christ and his virgin mother.
In contrast, Islam venerates Jesus (calls him Issa) and his mother Meriam. The Qur’an; Muslim’s holy book, dedicates a large chapter; Surat Miriam, venerating the Virgin Mary, something Christians themselves have not done.
Crowds of Palestinian mourners attempted to carry Shireen Abu Akleh’s body casket on their shoulders from the hospital to the nearby church, as it is customary, but as the casket was carried out of the hospital’s gates, they were brutally attacked by hundreds of Israeli police and security forces with batons, stun and smoke grenades
that almost caused the pallbearers to drop Abu Akleh’s casket to the ground.
Even at the graveyard, the Israeli forces tried to stop crowds of mourners to attend the burial ceremony. What is the logic behind such vulgarity? The Israelis do not respect the sanctity of the dead nor the sad feelings of the mourners. That is Israelis for you!
You would think Israel would cool down a bit on its genocidal aggressive ethnic cleansing policies, but they did not. Home demolition continued; five more home demolitions took place on Wednesday; a house in the Jabal Mukaber town, a second in Beit Hanina, a third in Al-Walaja west of Bethlehem, a fourth in Silwan, and an apartment in Isawiya. Extremist Israeli settlers attacked a family in Al-Tur in Jerusalem, took over the house, and kicked the Palestinian family into the streets. Terrorist Israeli Death Forces (TIDF) raided the house of murdered victims of the Hmaidan brothers in Bidu town. A young Palestinian was shot in the old city of Jerusalem.
Watch this video!
The blatant targeted murder of Shireen Abu Akleh is not a unique event in occupied Palestine. She has not been the first, and I fear that she won’t be the last Palestinian journalist to be murdered by this brutal Israeli occupation regime.
Terrorist Israeli Death Forces (TIDF) as well as their Zionist Judaic government do not differentiate between one goy journalist or another.