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National Press Club: Shireen's Death Showed IDF Indifference To Journalist Safety


WASHINGTONMay 11, 2024 /7Newswire — Following is a statement by Emily Wilkins, president of the National Press Club, on the second anniversary of the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, while reporting from the West Bank in 2022.

“It has been two years since Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has been killed by an IDF sniper while reporting on a military action in the West Bank. And in that time, we have seen – through excellent investigations by western media — more clearly what happened that day and a now greater meaning for where we find ourselves today.

Sadly, the US government, and its ally Israel have been unable to provide any form of effective justice for Shireen, her family and her country. 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.  We warned where that would lead. And now, since Oct. 7, there have been some 100 journalists and media workers killed in Gaza, including some who appear – according to rigorous reporting by their colleagues in the press, to have been targeted.

Initially, the IDF insisted, Shireen was shot by Palestinians who were firing weapons in the air. That was false. Then, IDF claimed they were engaged in suppressing fire that might have struck Shireen. That was false. Next they said, and continue to say, this was an accident – despite her wearing a vest and helmet marked ‘PRESS’ and her standing in an area filled with other press members and camera crews. She was killed and it matters, deeply, how she was killed and why.

There have been no proper investigations by the FBI or Israel of Shireen’s killing. There have been, effectively, no changes in policy or any retraining at the IDF following the killing of Shireen. None of this is acceptable. And the U.S. government continues to refuse to declassify a summation report on the killing of Shireen that was produced by the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority. While this report is not an actual criminal investigation it is clear that it is being suppressed in a PR move to protect the reputation of IDF.

The IDF team responsible for killing Shireen, the shooter, the spotter and the officer who approved the shot, have not been identified, suspended or dismissed. They could be serving together in Gaza today – on the second anniversary of Shireen’s death. All this is taking too long, incomplete and unjust.

She was a civilian, a journalist, a non-combatant. She should not have been targeted. She was a U.S. Citizen. Her government – the U.S. Government – must continue to press for answers on who killed their citizen and for retraining and reform of process to ensure the safety of journalists working in the field near IDF.”

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. With 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization. The Club is a leading voice for press freedom in the U.S. and worldwide.

Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 for National Press Club

SOURCE National Press Club