Permanently Silencing a Journalist


Brandon Mudd

Abu Akleh sits in front of a Palestinian city broadcasting to the world. She fought her whole life trying to uplift the voices of Palestinians. “She did so much for us,” Abudllah Omar said.

Brandon Mudd, Staff Writer

Justice is being demanded worldwide. 

Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has been killed in the West Bank of Palestine. 

The Israel Defense Force (I.D.F.) has been accused of killing yet another Palestinian journalist. They have had a history of this in the past, but it is currently not confirmed whether or not the allegations are true. Journalists serve a crucial role in their societies to highlight the truth, and this is exactly what Abu Akleh was doing. 

51-year-old Shireen Abu Akleh is a Palestinian-American journalist who was living in the West Bank. She worked for Al-Jazeera, a Qatari government funded broadcasting network where she was a well known and respected journalist worldwide. “When I woke up and saw her death I was so sad and so shocked,” 21-year-old Abdullah Omar said. Omar is a Palestinian using Instagram to raise awareness for Palestinian rights and fight against Israeli occupation. His sadness was felt by many Palestinians. Abu Akleh was well known for using her platform to effectively get aid to the Palestinian people and make true change with her journalism. 

Abu Akleh was in the West Bank trying to report on an ongoing story. The I.D.F. was infiltrating a refugee camp in the city of Jenin. She was properly displayed as a journalist and was wearing her bulletproof press vest. Not long after sending her last email update, soldiers allegedly began firing at her. She was shot in the neck and died. “She was just out there trying to do her job, and it is unfair that this happened to her,” Junior Alex Schimdt said. Journalists in countries like Palestine are at constant risk of fatality. Even though it is against international law to use warfare on journalists, it is not unheard of. 

Both of the countries that Abu Akleh had citizenship in have come out and condemned the killing. The United States (U.S.) along with the United Nations (U.N.) and European Union (E.U.) have called for an independent investigation into her death. The Palestinian Authority has described the killing as a deliberate crime committed against a well known journalist. “I think it’s pretty clear what happened, and I hope that there is a thorough investigation into her killing,” Schmidt said. This is a sentiment shared by many, and it’s likely that the U.N. will conduct one in the near future. 

Initially, Israel claimed that Palestinian rebels were the ones that killed Abu Akleh. “The Palestinians did not kill Shereen Abu Akleh. If you look at the video you can see that the real killer is the IDF,” Omar said. After similar backlash being international, Israel has backtracked on its claim and now says that there is a possibility that there were other options. Many who were there at the scene claim that there were no Palestinian rebels even there including Ali al-Samoudi another Al-Jeazeera Journalist who was also shot, and is currently in stable condition. This comes from both Palestinian and independent Journalists.  

The U.S. is Israel’s biggest military supplier. With the killing being done towards an American citizen, there is a possibility that there would be legislation proposed to cut funding to Israel if it is found out that the killers were in the I.D.F. similarly to what the U.S. saw last year with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign. “I could see why this would be something we should do, but could definitely escalate things,” Schmidt said. These two stances that Schmidt mentioned could be seen as a point of debate in the upcoming weeks.

“Journalists are very important in our lives. They bring us the news to know everything,” Omar said. This is true anywhere, but especially true in countries like Palestine where the information on the news is more vital to a citizen’s day to day life. “Journalists give us multiple perspectives on a situation and prevent us from being fed only one biased idea by those in power,” Junior Anh Ho said. People all around the world value the work that good journalists do. Without Abu Akleh, the Palestinian people will be loosing one of their strongest warriors.