The brutal killing of Al Jazeera TV network correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank does not seem enough for Israel. Video footage shows the barbaric act of Israeli security forces using batons and their boots to attack and kick pallbearers carrying the coffin of the slain journalist.
American State Secretary Antony Blinken said the United States was “deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh”, but what else can Washington do?
The US has condemned the killing of Shireen but at the same time supported Israel's rejection of an independent investigation into the fatal shooting of the 51-year-old female journalist, who joined Al Jazeera in 1997. She was shot on May 11 when covering an Israeli raid in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. Her colleague, Ali al-Samoudi, was also shot in the back, but he survived.
It is almost undeniable that Israel is accountable for the shooting as video footage has shown. Shireen followed all the requirements to cover armed conflicts, such as wearing a helmet and a bullet-proof vest, and having “PRESS” on her back, chest and forehead.
An Israeli military initial report on May 12 said the bullet that killed Shireen could have come from “massive fire from Palestinian gunmen”, or possibly from “a few bullets” fired by a soldier “at a terrorist who was firing at his vehicle”. However, without any independent investigation, such claims can never be verified.
Condemnation from international journalist associations, media organizations and the United Nations Security Council, as well as rebukes from the whole world, will mean nothing to Israel. In fact, Israel has for decades enjoyed impunity for the atrocities it has committed against Palestinians.
Even before the death of Shireen, Israel had reportedly killed at least 46 Palestinian journalists since 2000, and no one has faced justice for the crimes and assaults on press freedom. Israel has been hostile against Al Jazeera, banning the Qatar-based media outlet and closing its Jerusalem office in 2017.
The fact that Israel has shown no regret for the extrajudicial killing of Shireen is an attitude characterizing a colonizer. Israel will find justification for the gross violence and the US will readily act as an excellent bodyguard for its "master" Israel.
Israel knows very well that the US will not dare to punish Israel. The Israeli government is also aware that many leaders of the Arab world dislike Al Jazeera because its Arabic-language reports have often been critical of them.
The world will, however, forget the killing of Shireen. It would unlikely be the case if Israel had shot dead a white American journalist. Shireen also held an American passport, but many believe, rightly or wrongly, that she was "only" of Palestinian origin and would not force the Biden administration to act against Israel.
As the news of Shireen's killing fades, more journalists may join Israel's target list given its track record of brutality. But Shireen did her best in telling the world how Israel denies Palestinians the right to live in their own homeland.
Hail to Shireen, shame on Israel.
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