‘Outrageous crime’: Australia's media union demands justice for death of Al Jazeera journalist

The MEAA has written to Israel's ambassador to Australia, demanding justice for the death of veteran Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Aqla, who was reportedly shot and killed by Israeli forces.

A group of people carry posters of Shireen Abu Aqla with lit candles and sullen facial expressions.

Activists in Lebanon take part in a candlelight vigil outside the UN building in Beirut to denounce the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqla. Source: Getty / Picture Alliance

Australia's media union has written a letter to Israel's ambassador to Australia, demanding justice for the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla who was shot dead in the West Bank on Wednesday.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) has strongly condemned the killing of Abu Aqla, 51, a veteran reporter who was based in the Palestinian occupied territories for 15 years.

MEAA president Karen Percy described her death as an "outrageous crime" and has pushed there be no impunity for those responsible for her death.

Advertisement
"Your Excellency, as you know, all parties to a conflict must observe that journalists and media workers are civilians," Ms Percy wrote to Amir Maimon.

"Targeting them, especially when they are clearly identifiable as press, is a violation of international law, and violators must be brought to justice.

"The targeted killing of Abu Akleh is an outrageous crime – there must be no impunity for her killers."

SBS News has contacted Mr Maimon to request a response to MEAA's letter.
A Palestinian artist paints a mural in honour of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla in Gaza City.
A Palestinian artist paints a mural in honour of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla in Gaza City. Source: Getty / NurPhoto
after covering a raid by Israeli forces storming into the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

Multiple eyewitnesses, including Abu Aqla's colleagues, claim that Israeli snipers shot at her, despite the journalist wearing a press vest, as well as a helmet. She was shot in the head - the one area of her body that was not protected.

Al Jazeera later released a statement saying Ms Aqla was killed "in a blatant murder" by Israeli troops.
Israeli authorities initially denied these reports, saying that it is "likely" she was shot by Palestinians after footage emerged of a group of men firing shots through a town.

"According to the information we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians — who were firing indiscriminately at the time — were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist," Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday.

An Al Jazeera investigation has debunked this claim, finding the footage referenced by the Israeli government was not at the location of her death.
Later, Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz conceded that it could have been "the Palestinians who shot her" or fire from "our side".

Israel has offered to launch a joint investigation to determine who and what was responsible for her death, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused the offer.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas ruled out the possibility of working together with Israel because Palestinians do not trust Israel.

"We rejected the joint investigation with the Israeli occupation authorities because they committed the crime and because we don't trust them," Mr Abbas said.

PA has confirmed an independent investigation will be conducted without Israel's involvement.

Arab countries have written a letter to the United Nations on Wednesday, calling for an independent international probe into what was described as Abu Aqla's assassination.

Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said it was necessary "to take those who are responsible for this crime to face the accountability regarding this crime".

Her death comes days after the International Federation of Journalists submitted a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that there is a "systemic targeting of Palestinian journalists" in the occupied territories.

"We will seek to add this case to the ICC complaint submitted by the IFJ, detailing such systematic targeting," the federation's general secretary Anthony Bellanger said.

Abu Aqla, a Palestinian and citizen of the US, was revered globally and was a highly regarded correspondent in the occupied territories.
Palestinian honour guards carry the coffin of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Aqla during an official funeral at the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Palestinian honour guards carry the coffin of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Aqla during an official funeral at the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Source: AAP / Atef Safadi
Thousands of people paid tribute in a state memorial that was held at the PA headquarters in Ramallah, West Bank, where they marched through the streets, with some carrying her coffin draped in the Palestinian flag and a wreath of flowers.

The car carrying her coffin drove through the West Bank, where a street will be named after her in her honour.

With AFP.

SHARE
4 min read
Published 13 May 2022 at 1:18pm, updated 13 May 2022 at 1:52pm
By Rayane Tamer
Source: SBS