GENEVA – The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) strongly condemns the killing of Palestinian journalist Shirin Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera correspondent, and the injury of her colleague Ali Samoudi by Israeli forces, while reporting on an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank.
On Wednesday, May 11, a vehicle carrying a group of journalists arrived at a roundabout in Jenin camp at about 6:30 a.m to cover the Israeli army’s raid. Israeli army forces were deployed, and army snipers climbed onto the roofs of houses in the camp and surrounded a Palestinian home near the al-Jabriyat neighborhood. Abu Akleh got out of the vehicle, wearing a press vest and helmet. She took several steps before the Israeli snipers shot her with a live bullet and al Jazeera producer Ali Samoudi was also shot in the back. Then journalist Shirin screamed “Ali has been shot”, and then the Israeli sniper fired her again below the ear, specifically in the only area not covered by the helmet. The Israeli soldiers continued to shoot at anyone who tried to approach her, which hindered the delivery of crucial first aid for several minutes. and she was later transferred to a local hospital in Jenin.
Contrary to the claims of the Israeli army that it had opened an investigation into the possibility of journalists being shot by Palestinian gunmen, eyewitness testimonies confirm that the area in which the journalists were targeted did not witness any armed clashes and only the Israeli army was there, while clashes took place between the army and Palestinian gunmen before that around a house Hundreds of meters away.
According to Palestinian media reports, 48 journalists have been killed in Israeli attacks since 2000 in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Since the beginning of this year, more than 66 journalists have been injured by live bullets, rubber bullets, and poison gas canisters, in an attempt to silence and hide the truth.
While the Geneva Council strongly condemns the killing of journalist Abu Akleh, which is a war crime and a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War or Armed Conflict, and all protocols regulating the protection of journalists, and media work in times of peace and war, it calls upon all local and international press institutions and committees working to defend the rights of journalists around the world and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn the crime and take practical measures to achieve accountability for this crime.
GCRL also stresses the need to open an independent international investigation into the murder of journalist “Shirin Abu Akleh”, to hold those involved accountable, and to put an end to the policy of impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of crimes from the Israeli forces amid the silence of the international community.