It has been over two weeks since Palestinian reporter for Al Jazeera, Shireen Abu Aqleh, was shot and killed by Israeli regime forces. Although at the time, Western media would have had you believe otherwise.
Headlines circulated claiming that Shireen had died in clashes between the Israeli regime army and Palestinian ‘gunmen.’ Palestinians passively dying, as opposed to being killed by the Israeli regime army, is a standard trope pedalled by the Western media. It is a framing that Judith Butler writes about in Frames of War which allows for certain lives to be grieved and others not—because it is just what happens to them. In other words, for much of the Western media, Palestinians simply die. This use of the passive voice obscures from the reality of a deadly regime of violence.
The Israeli regime is directly responsible for Shireen’s death. Along with a group of fellow journalists, Shireen had been in Jenin, covering an Israeli military raid, when they came under fire from Israeli snipers. Shireen was shot in the head and another journalist, Ali Al Samoudi, was shot in the back. She had been wearing protective clothing including a press jacket and a helmet. The sniper shot her in an exposed area below her ear. In other words, the shot was very precise and clearly intended to inflict fatal damage. Shatha Hanaysha, another journalist who was standing next to Shireen when she was shot said ‘They only shot when one of us moved’.
The Israeli regime immediately claimed that Shireen had been killed by ‘Palestinian militant’ fire. They then back peddled and claimed that it was impossible to ascertain who shot Shireen as she had been caught in a gun battle. In addition to the eye witness testimonies of Shatha and the other journalists and civilians that were in the area, there has since been several videos released that reveal quite clearly that there was no such gun battle. The footage shows, to the contrary, that the scene had been relaxed. Shireen and the other journalists had been standing around casually before the shots were fired.
Regardless, the Israeli regime announced in an official statement that there would be no criminal investigation into the killing of Shireen. It continues to argue that Shireen had been killed in ‘an active combat situation’ and that the Israeli soldiers testified to the fact that they had not targeted Shireen. This is not unexpected from the Israeli regime, indeed rarely do they investigate their own soldiers for killing Palestinians. Despite Israel’s attempts to whitewash Shireen’s killing, there are growing international calls for an independent investigation including from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.