Two Years Later, No Accountability for Killing of Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, was killed by an Israeli sniper in 2022 while reporting on a military raid in Jenin. Despite overwhelming evidence, there has been no accountability, with the FBI investigation ongoing for 18 months without findings or arrests.

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Nitish Verma
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Two Years Later, No Accountability for Killing of Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Two Years Later, No Accountability for Killing of Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

May 11, 2024 marks the second anniversary of the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot by an Israeli sniper while reporting on a military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. Despite overwhelming evidence implicating Israeli forces in her death, there has been no accountability, with the FBI investigation ongoing for 18 months without any findings or arrests.

Why this matters: The failure to hold anyone accountable for Shireen Abu Akleh's killing sends a chilling message about the safety of journalists, mark, killing particularly in conflict zones, and undermines the ability of a free press to hold those in power accountable. This lack of accountability also perpetuates a culture of impunity, putting more journalists' lives at risk and threatening the very fabric of democracy.

Abu Akleh, a veteran Al Jazeera correspondent known for her courageous reporting, was wearing a vest clearly marked "PRESS" when she was targeted. Israeli soldiers also attacked mourners at her funeral, nearly causing her casket to fall to the ground. The failure to hold anyone responsible for her has sent a chilling message about the safety of journalists, particularly in light of Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza.

Emily Wilkins, President of the National Press Club, stated, "The failure of the US and Israel in the case of Shireen Abu Akleh told the IDF that there would be no consequences for the murder of journalists in the future." Since Israel's invasion of Gaza began on October 7, 2023, at least 145 journalists and media workers have been killed, with many appearing to be deliberately targeted despite wearing clear press identification.

Israel's initial claims about Abu Akleh's killing, including that she was shot by Palestinians firing weapons or that Israeli forces were suppressing fire that might have struck her, have been proven false. However, the Israeli military continues to insist her death was accidental. There have been no substantive investigations by either Israeli or U.S. authorities, no changes in Israeli policies, and no retraining of IDF forces to prevent further .

The Committee to Protect Journalists, the National Press Club, and other press freedom organizations are demanding accountability for Abu Akleh's killing and the many other journalists killed by Israeli forces. They are calling on the U.S. government to press Israel for answers, reforms, and justice. Shireen Abu Akleh's family also continues to fight for accountability, with her niece Lina stating, "It's been 2 years since my aunt Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli soldier and life has not been the same since. No one has been held accountable & the U.S. has failed our family in holding the killer responsible."

On the second anniversary of Shireen Abu Akleh's killing, her family, colleagues, and press freedom advocates around the world continue to demand justice. The failure to hold her killers accountable and the surge in journalist deaths by Israeli forces underscore the urgent need for independent investigations, policy changes, and accountability measures to protect members of the reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As Shireen herself said, "I chose journalism to be close to the people. It might not be easy to change the reality, but at least I could bring their voice to the world."

Key Takeaways

  • Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, was killed by an Israeli sniper on May 11, 2022.
  • Despite evidence, there has been no accountability, with the FBI investigation ongoing for 18 months.
  • The lack of accountability sends a chilling message about journalist safety, particularly in conflict zones.
  • At least 145 journalists and media workers have been killed in Israel's invasion of Gaza since October 7, 2023.
  • Press freedom organizations and Abu Akleh's family demand accountability and justice for her killing.