Israeli troops murdered journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, UN Human Rights Office confirms

Veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the head on May 11, 2022. © Al-Jazeera handout via AFP

Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Office confirmed the results of three major journalistic investigations that Israeli soldiers fired the gunfire that killed revered Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and wounded her colleague last month while they covered a raid in the occupied West Bank.

Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement that it is "deeply disturbing that Israeli authorities have not conducted a criminal investigation" that Israeli authorities have not conducted a criminal investigation into Abu Akleh killing, sparked international outrage in the six weeks since the incident.

We have uncovered no evidence that armed Palestinians were engaged in activity in the proximity of the journalists.

"We at the U.N. Human Rights Office have concluded our independent monitoring into the incident," said Shamdasani. "All information we have gathered—including official information from the Israeli military and the Palestinian attorney general—is consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli Security Forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians, as initially claimed by Israeli authorities."

Shamdasani added, "We have found no information suggesting that there was activity by armed Palestinians in the immediate vicinity of the journalists,"

The conclusions of the U.N. panel were released days after the New York Times published an investigation indicating that the gunshot that killed Ms. Abu Akleh was likely fired from the approximate area of the Israeli military convoy by an elite unit soldier.

According to the Times analysis of the facts, there were no armed Palestinians around when the woman was shot. It countered Israeli assertions that a soldier accidentally shot and killed her because he was targeting a Palestinian gunman.

CNN similarly decided two weeks after the murder last month that "there was no active combat, nor any Palestinian militants, near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death."

"The news organization's video obtained by CNN, corroborated by testimony from eight eyewitnesses, an audio forensic analyst, and an explosive weapons expert, suggest that Abu Akleh was shot dead in a targeted attack by Israeli forces," claimed.

The findings of the main media validated Al Jazeera's first response to Abu Akleh's murder. Al Jazeera Media Network released a statement shortly after its Palestine correspondent was shot in the head, accusing Israel of "deliberately targeting and killing our colleague."

The network stated, "Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen," "It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen." the resolution states.

On Friday, the U.N. human rights group stated, "per our global human rights monitoring methodology, our office inspected photo, video, and audio material, visited the scene, consulted experts, reviewed official communications, and interviewed witnesses."


The office went on to outline its findings:

On 11 May 2022, soon after 06h00, seven journalists, including Shireen Abu Akleh, arrived at the western entrance of the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank to cover an ongoing arrest operation by Israeli Security Forces and the ensuing clashes.
The journalists said they chose a side street for their approach to avoid the location of armed Palestinians inside the camp and that they proceeded slowly in order to make their presence visible to the Israeli forces deployed down the street. Our findings indicate that no warnings were issued and no shooting was taking place at that time and at that location.
At around 06h30, as four of the journalists turned into the street leading to the camp, wearing bulletproof helmets and flak jackets with "PRESS" markings, several single, seemingly well-aimed bullets were fired towards them from the direction of the Israeli Security Forces. One single bullet injured Ali Sammoudi in the shoulder, another single bullet hit Abu Akleh in the head and killed her instantly. Several further single bullets were fired as an unarmed man attempted to approach Abu Akleh's body and another uninjured journalist sheltering behind a tree. Shots continued to be fired as this individual eventually managed to carry away Abu Akleh's body.

U.N. statement said, "International human rights law requires prompt, thorough, transparent, independent, and impartial investigation into all use of force resulting in death or serious injury," and "Perpetrators must be held accountable."

Thursday, twenty senators from the United States urged President Joe Biden to ensure that the United States government is fully involved in inquiries into the death of American citizen Abu Akleh.

The Biden administration has refused to participate thus far, saying that the Israeli government should lead the investigation. In response to CNN's inquiry, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated earlier this month that Abu Akleh's murder had not been "established."

Thursday, 24 U.S. senators wrote in a letter to Vice President Biden that "the U.S. government has an obligation to ensure that a comprehensive, impartial, and open investigation into her shooting death is conducted—one in which all parties can have full confidence in the ultimate findings."

"In order to protect freedom of the press," they continued, "a thorough and transparent investigation under U.S. auspices must be conducted to get to the truth and provide accountability for the killing of this American citizen and journalist."

Publish : 2022-06-24 18:26:00

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