Did Israel murder a journalist because she fulfilled her role?

By Rogel Alpher (Translated by Sol Salbe)

Haaretz • May 26, 2022

Anyone who cares about investigating the truth in the event of the death of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh should welcome the broadcast of the investigative report on CNN. This is a worthy professional attempt to get to the truth. A forensic audio researcher presents a mathematical formula for calculating the distance from which it was fired.

Like most of those who watched the investigative report, I am a lay person in the field. I don’t have the tools to judge the accuracy of this calculation. Like any scientific argument, it can be refuted. I have never heard such a refutation. The IDF’s response doesn’t contain any attempt to refute the calculation or the method. In a case that rests entirely on circumstantial evidence, this is yet another supporting item.

Another circumstantial piece of evidence is the cluster of bullets that hit a tree next to which Abu Akleh was standing. It’s assumed that one of these bullets killed her. According to another expert who gave the network his opinion, the hit marks are too close to each other to be the result of automatic, scattered firing. Such a cluster indicates targeted firing, individually. The target was not the tree. Although it is impossible to totally rule out the possibility that one of the IDF soldiers carried out a targeted onslaught of this specific tree. Perhaps a few days earlier, the soldier had seen a Palestinian flag hoisted on it.

But this is very unlikely. It is more likely that CNN was able to present circumstantial evidence, which the IDF is unable to refute, that IDF soldiers intentionally fired at Shireen Abu Akleh and killed her. This is called murder. But did they specifically try to murder her, or did they target those who stood at the same point, not knowing they were journalists?

According to the eyewitnesses, the media people had informed the IDF that they were journalists stationed at this point. The eyewitnesses are all Palestinians, who are therefore presumed to be biased. But the IDF does not refute this claim either. Their troops knew that Abu Akleh was there. This is the story that CNN weaved together with the findings it was able to obtain. It is sustainable. We’d love to see more investigations that disprove CNN’s and put forward alternative theories. In their absence, meanwhile, CNN’s contention that the IDF murdered Shireen Abu Akleh appears to be the working hypothesis.

Both sides, the Israeli and the Palestinian, may have an interest in distorting the truth in this case. An investigation by a completely independent party is required. Every reasonable Israeli citizen has an interest in such an investigation. I, for one, would very much like to know if my country murdered a journalist because they fulfilled their role, opposed the Occupation, reported truthfully and damaged Israel’s image. Aren’t you? The most important frame in the report is the one in which Shireen Abu Akleh is seen lying on her stomach, motionless. She deserves the truth.

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