Bethlehem /PNN /
Some 230 international rights organizations and networks have strongly condemned the killing of veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, calling for the regime in Tel Aviv to be held accountable for the brutal crime.
The Palestinian news network said the 229 signatories affirmed in a statement that the Israeli occupation forces’ targeting of the Palestinian journalist was a “deliberate and premeditated act and a full-fledged assassination operation.”
“Martyr Shireen Abu Akleh is a direct victim of organized state terrorism [by Israel], which behaves with the mentality of criminal gangs,” the signatories stressed.
The statement said the killing was a result of systematic incitement against Palestinian journalists by the occupying regime for their professional role in revealing the truth and exposing the regime’s crimes.
It further criticized the international community’s silence over atrocities committed by Israeli troops against Palestinians, saying it exposes their double standards.
“The Israeli occupation forces, with their heinous act, want to obscure the truth and cover up their horrendous crimes against the sons and daughters of the Palestinian people. Moreover, the regime, with its heinous act, wants to scare and intimidate journalists to prevent the conveyance of the truth to the world,” the signatories underlined.
The statement also called for the opening of a “neutral, independent and transparent” international investigation into the Israeli targeting the Palestinian journalist under the supervision of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The signatories stressed the need to launch an international campaign by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the International Federation of Journalists, international nongovernmental organizations, and Palestinian human rights institutions to hold Israeli war criminals accountable, prevent impunity for the perpetrators, and bring a legal human rights case at the ICC to prosecute Israeli leaders and politicians, who publicly incite the killing of Palestinian civilians, including journalists.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a longtime TV correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, was killed on Wednesday after being shot in the head while covering the Israeli army’s raids in the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank.
She was rushed to a hospital in Jenin in critical condition, where she was declared dead shortly after, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Shatha Hanaysha, another Palestinian journalist who was with Abu Akleh when she was murdered, asserted the incident was a “deliberate attempt” by Israeli forces to kill the journalists.
“We made ourselves visible to the soldiers who were stationed hundreds of meters away from us. We remained still for around 10 minutes to make sure they knew we were there as journalists,” Shatha Hanaysha wrote in an account of the shooting incident.