The ongoing and deeply historical conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to reach harsh levels of violence as militia groups constantly battle with Israeli security forces. In the last months the Israeli forces have been attempting to counter large scale attacks by Palestinian groups by carrying out organized raids that often in gun battles between the two sides. Many of these shootouts occur in highly populated areas in which civilians will get caught in between the crossfire leaving both sides blaming the other in who is to be held responsible for these killings of innocents. These have reached a new level of violence on both sides as it seems every major holiday instead of being a time for celebration it ends in a shootout between the government and militia groups.
Lifelong Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was reporting on one of these raids during which a bullet struck her in the head killing her. According to Al-Jazeera they believe that she was “assassinated” by the Israeli security forces for the Arabian news outlets often pro-Palestinian stance. While both sides have claimed innocence for this killing, they also both claim it was the other side who had fired the fatal shot. During the raid the journalists had been wearing the standard vests and “PRESS” markings that indicate their non-combatant status, something that is often taken seriously by most major militaries. In a twitter video Al-Jazeera producer Ali Samoudi who was also wounded during the attack does not believe that the Palestinian groups are responsible as there were none in the area that could have done so in the moment.
The Israeli Defense Forces tweeted out earlier that they are investigating the incident as an attack by Palestinian militia groups as an ongoing effort to target terrorist groups. In their tweets they claim that “tens of Palestinian gunmen fired at and hurled explosive devices,” and that their forces “responded with fire toward the gunmen.” Through this then it would seem that the IDF does not believe that their own forces had anything to do with the incident claiming that there was no way their soldiers would have shot at or near the clearly marked journalists. They have also claimed that they have attempted to conduct a joint operation to investigate the incident, but the Palestinians had declined to do so.
While neither side has taken or will likely take responsibility for these actions the international community has condemned the killing both as a crime against humanity and as an attack on free journalism. Although this will not bring back a valued and loved member of the journalistic community, the best we can hope for is a clear and clean investigation to better understand and respond to this tragedy and bring those responsible to some kind of justice.