Tragically, journalists embedded with terrorists are injured or killed, but that’s the price
May 11, 2022 – This morning, the Israel Defense Forces entered the Palestinian city of Jenin to root out a terrorist militia responsible for deadly attacks on 19 Israeli civilians in recent weeks. One of the militia factions is the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iranian-created terrorist group led by Ziyad al-Nakhalah, who is believed to reside in Beirut. The PIJ receives money, training and weapons from Iran. It is reinforced in Jenin by Hamas and Fatah militias, identified by their different banners and flags.
Nakhalah and Hamas leaders are regular visitors to Iran. Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh even delivered a eulogy to the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, Qasim Soleimani.
The death of a journalist
AlJazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in Jenin this morning while covering firefights between Palestinian militias and the Israeli army. Palestinian groups and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were quick to blame Israel for her death, with some even claiming she was “executed” by Israeli forces.
Thomas R. Nides, the US Ambassador to Israel, tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the passing of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of his death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin.
A thorough investigation will not take place. Israel called in a joint Palestinian-Israeli team to investigate and perform an autopsy to determine which bullet killed Abu Akleh. The Palestinians rejected the idea. A Palestinian spokesman, Ziyad Abu Ziyad, even compared his death to the mysterious and staged shooting of the death of 12-year-old Muhammed Dura in Gaza in 2000. The world then condemned Israel, even though the circumstances and the filming of the boy’s death have never been fully presented.
Later today, at the State Department press conference, the US spokesperson will no doubt present an unbiased appeal to both sides to refrain from violence. Al QudsWashington correspondent Said Erekat will challenge the spokesperson to condemn the death of the American-Palestinian journalist and the Jenin attack. His uncle Saeb Erekat was infamous 20 years ago for claiming that 500 Palestinians had been killed in a “Jenin massacre”. Said Erekat will live up to his uncle’s legacy.
Abu Akleh’s funeral is likely to be a Palestinian Authority-sponsored event with wide media coverage. The reporter’s death – her martyrdom – will be compared to the death of Marie Colvin, journalist at the British Time who covered the siege of Homs in Syria in 2012. She was targeted by the Syrian government.
Lenny Ben-David was a senior Israeli diplomat in Washington. He is a public affairs consultant, writer, researcher, editor and historian of early photography. Ben-David is the author of “American Interests in the Holy Land Revealed in Early Photographs”. He worked for AIPAC for 25 years in Washington and Jerusalem.