Palestine Update 554
Israel fumbles as Shireen Abu-Akhleh voice echoes in Palestine
This year’s Nakba Commemorations were punctuated by the voice of Shireen Abu-Akhleh who was killed by Israeli forces while she was covering Israeli forces raid and the uprising in the West Bank. Israeli is desperately trying to alter the narrative of her death claiming that it was a bullet from a Palestinian militant. As a report in Al-Bawaba puts it, her death at the hands of an Israeli military sniper in Jenin has quickly emerged as yet another symbol of Palestinian resistance against colonization in the West Bank, Gaza and the Arab territories inside Israel.
Every single killing of innocent Palestinians marks Israel out as a criminal State which thinks nothing of killing people who they deem to be a threat to truth. High ranking Catholic officials in Jerusalem condemned the assault on the funeral procession which saw soldiers kicking and beating the pallbearers, causing them to almost drop the coffin. Israeli police used stun grenades and batons to target mourners at Shireen’s funeral, triggering a further spell of international outrage against the Israeli authorities. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed condemnation saying the US was “deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh”, adding “every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”
Al Jazeera has accused Israel of carrying out the assassination in cold blood. Arab journalists from Washington to Tunisia to Syria are staging sit-ins.
Several Arab parents have named their newborn daughters ‘Shireen.’ Surely, Abu Akleh has become a Palestinian symbol, and symbols are points of indication and inspiration in any liberation struggle. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reports that at least 46 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israel since the year 2000 “and no one has been held to account. Israeli investigations, even when they are carried out by judges and public figures, have long failed to win the trust of the international community, or that of the Palestinians”.
The implications of Shireen’s death are potentially far-reaching. The Palestinian Authority (PA) demands that the circumstances be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The international community of journalists, human rights activists, scholars, activists, historians and others has spoken up. It would be hard for Israel to live this down. Meanwhile a thousand seeds of resistance have been sown and they will sprout all over West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem as instruments of resistance. The colonization is now shaky and the government only manages to fumble while it exists.
The Voice of Shireen Abu Akhleh Can Not Be Silenced
“Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, was shot and killed while covering Israeli forces’ raid and the second intifada (uprising) in the city of Jenin in the West Bank on May 11. What may be even worse, her funeral procession was attacked by Israeli police, nearly dropping the coffin to the ground. The Israeli government had attempted to divert the situation by first claiming that the bullet that hit her was fired by the “Palestinian militants”, in the classic ‘blame the victims’ tactics. However, the investigation is ongoing and they have not ruled out that she could also possibly been hit by Israeli forces.
Born in Palestine to a Catholic family, Shireen was a long time journalist and TV correspondent for Aljazeera Arabic network. In many ways, she was kind of the Anderson Cooper for Aljazeera, covering the Intifada, while risking her life. She was asked if she feared being killed covering these dangerous situations. Her response was that she always thought it was possible but a risk she was willing to take to meet her journalistic responsibilities. There has been widespread pouring of support and sympathy from across the globe, along with condemnation of the Israeli forces to have killed a journalist, who was wearing the vest, clearly showing she was working for the press.
This incidence has brought to light the painful realities of Palestinians living under occupation”
Israel will Continue to fear Sherine Abu Akleh in death as in Life
Sherine Abu Akleh is finally laid to rest deep in the mother earth of her beloved Jerusalem, one more nail in the heart of Zionists who finally killed her for daring to report the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. Her life turned out to be a tragedy right up to the last minute because her death by an Israeli military sniper in Jenin quickly becomes a symbol of Palestinian resistance against occupation in the West Bank, Gaza and the Arab territories inside Israel. There is no other way of saying it, the Israeli establishment, its prized politicians and security forces hated her; there was an extraordinary meanness displayed against her, even in her death that is beyond human comprehension. Israeli soldiers went into an unbelievable frenzy as her casket was carried out of the French St. Joseph Hospital; Israeli boots-on-the-ground showed utter barbarity and flagrant disregard to the death and to those who tried to carry her casket to the final resting place, the Melkite Catholic Cemetery in the old city of Jerusalem.
It was all on camera and video. Israel soldiers with their batons and sticks, tear gas and armor, shoved, kicked, harassed and hit at the carriers of the coffin, and which at one time, nearly fell to the ground in a bid to drive back the people inside the hospital. This is shock, sacrilege and profanity at its highest.
Only Palestinians can decide whether to boycott the occupier’s court
With Israel’s Supreme Court green lighting the forced expulsion of Masafer Yatta, the question of whether to ‘legitimize’ the courts has arisen again.
“Any lawyer who has ever handled a case in which the chances of success are slim recognizes these accompanying benefits of human rights litigation. Often the hope, and even the strategy, is that it is these peripheral successes that will be realized…Time is a very important accompanying benefit. Many litigations significantly postpone the carrying out of an unjust act or policy…These long stretches of time allow for political organizing, mobilization of diplomatic pressure, and the securing of significant media coverage — none of which would be possible were the state’s plans carried out quickly…Another example of a side product of litigation is information. Litigation can expose a lot of details about a policy or practice, which can, in turn, be of use to a public or political struggle…Litigations can bear other fruit: a legal process can often deepen public awareness and grab the media’s attention regarding the subject under legal scrutiny…After all the calculations and assessments, it is not, ultimately, up to lawyers or NGOs to decide. The decision belongs to the Palestinians. It is they who must choose whether to make use of the occupier’s courts or to boycott them. In the meantime, thousands of Palestinians opt to take that chance each year. Be it out of lack of other options or out of distress, this is the choice they are making.”
How media coverage whitewashes Israeli state violence against Palestinians
“However, Western media coverage routinely labels this situation as “complicated,” portraying this state violence as “clashes” and “tensions” between two sides. Headlines in outlets such as the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, NBC News and others use language that fails to recognize the power imbalance between the Israeli military apparatus and the native Palestinian people. This is a pattern we have seen over and over again in media coverage of Palestine. Palestinians are not killed; we simply die. When Israeli forces raid our neighborhoods in the middle of the night, bomb our children, demolish our homes, colonize our land and kill our people, we are somehow equal instigators. Media descriptions regularly imply a false symmetry between occupier and occupied, propping up anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic narratives that blame the Palestinian people for Israeli aggression.”
Rage at Israeli apartheid hits streets of London
The mass march came after the Israeli murder of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh -and a police assault on her funeral
Israel’s murder of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh injected fresh anger into a national demonstration for Palestine in central London on Saturday. At least 15,000 people joined the march, called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). It came a day after Israeli cops attacked mourners on Shireen’s funeral procession in Jerusalem—and three days after soldiers murdered her.
Marchers chanted “no justice, no peace” and “Shireen was a journalist, murdered by a terrorist,” while placards bearing her face dotted the march. An Israeli sniper shot Shireen in the head as she reported on a raid on a Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. And on Friday, Israeli cops attacked her funeral procession in Jerusalem in an attempt to stop people marching and carrying Palestinian flags. Many people on the march in London said Shireen’s killing was a deliberate attempt by Israel to hide the truth of the occupation.
One marcher told Socialist Worker, “What they did to Shireen was awful, and what they did to her funeral was even worse—in full view of cameras. Israel seems to have so much impunity and is never held to account. That’s why we have to march to express our solidarity and do what we can to support the Palestinian people.” But Zaher Birawi of the Palestine Forum in Britain told the march that Shireen’s killing had exposed the reality of Israel’s occupation to the world. “Thank you Shireen for exposing the occupation,” he said. “Her last report from the occupied territories and her funeral was the most effective and most influential report. It was her most influential report because she wrote it with her blood. You Shireen, your blood has exposed the occupation, its racist, terrorist army.”