Arab unions, parties and public figures on Wednesday condemned the killing of Palestinian journalist and Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces.
Abu Akleh, 51, was shot in the head by the Israeli army while covering a military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
In a statement, Joseph Al-Qusifi, the head of the Syndicate of Lebanese Press Editors, condemned the killing of Abu Akleh by the Israeli occupation forces and the serious injury of the reporter Ali Al-Samoudi.
“A bullet lodged in Abu Akleh’s head, causing the martyr, while carrying out her professional duties, to fall in her homeland, Palestine, on the outskirts of Jenin city, which is exposed on a daily basis to the most heinous practices of the occupiers,” said Al-Qusifi.
He called on the International and General Federation of Journalists and international and Arab human rights organizations and bodies to “file cases against Israel before international courts in order to convict it of its shameful and heinous act,” according to the statement.
In another statement, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate described the killing of Abu Akleh as a “heinous crime” committed by the Israeli army.
“The heinous crime, which provoked surprise, denunciation and condemnation of the world, is a severe breach of media responsibility and freedom of press, which are emphasized by international laws and covenants,” it said.
The Iraqi Journalists Syndicate called for an “urgent international investigation to uncover the killers and bring them to justice.”
The Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, in its statement, called on the international community and concerned organizations to “hold the occupying state (of Israel) accountable for its latest crime against the martyr, Abu Akleh.”
It condemned the assassination of Abu Akleh while she was carrying out her duties, calling for an “extensive international investigation into this crime and all the repeated crimes of the occupation forces against Palestinian journalists.”
The Egyptian Journalists Syndicate also called on “the relevant UN bodies to protect Palestinian journalists from the aggression of the Israeli occupation forces,” and media professionals in the occupied territories to “exercise caution while performing their professional duties.”
Meanwhile, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate said in a statement that the assassination of Abu Akleh is a “direct targeting of the press and free speech” that puts the world and international institutions before their responsibilities in condemning the crime and holding the occupation leaders accountable for it.
“The murder of Shireen Abu Akleh represents a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and a flagrant violation of international treaties that guarantee freedom of the press, the safety of journalists, and their right to information and protection while performing their professional work,” it added.
In a statement, the Jordanian Engineers Association considered the killing of Abu Akleh “an assassination operation aimed at terrorizing journalists and preventing the media from carrying out its message and conveying the truth of the crimes of the occupation to the whole world.”
Meanwhile, the Center for the Protection of Journalists in Jordan clarified in a statement that the assassination of Abu Akleh is a “new crime to be added to the record of the crimes of the Israeli occupation.”
The Palestinian Journalists Center described Shireen Abu Akleh and her colleagues as “witnesses of the truth,” stressing that “pursuing (them), restricting their work and targeting them will not deter or prevent them from continuing their noble mission of exposing the crimes of the Israeli occupation,” according to its statement.
The center called on the international community not to allow the crime of the assassination of Abu Akleh “to pass without accountability so that the perpetrators would not go unpunished.”
The Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press said in a statement that targeting the press in Palestine “falls within the framework of full-fledged war crimes committed by the Zionist occupation authorities against the Palestinian people, journalists and the media.”
It stressed that the assassination of the Al Jazeera correspondent is “a heinous crime and an additional link in the chain of Zionist terrorism targeting journalists through violence and murder.”
“The cowardly assassination is a direct result of the silence of the international community in the face of the successive Zionist crimes,” the statement added.
The Bahrain Journalists Association condemned in a statement the killing of Abu Akleh and the injury of the journalist Ali Al-Samoudi by Israeli army fire.
The association said “correspondents and journalists must be protected by all laws and customs, and the sanctity of their mission that they perform with dedication and sincerity must be respected, and they must be provided with safe working conditions to perform their professional duty and uphold their right to freedom of expression.”
Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman called for an international investigation of the assassination of Abu Akleh by the hands of the Israeli army.
“The Israeli occupation killed the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, another major crime that joins the series of crimes against humanity committed by the occupation forces,” Karman said in a Facebook post.
“I condemn, in the strongest terms, this heinous crime and my condolences to all journalists in the world, the Palestinian people, and the Arab nation, for the martyrdom of Shireen Abu Akleh.”
She also called on “the International Federation of Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and all organizations concerned with defending human rights to condemn the crime, work for an international investigation, and ensure that its perpetrators do not escape prosecution and punishment.”
The Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, said on Twitter that the assassination of Abu Akleh is “a new witness to the falsehood of all the allegations of the occupation,” describing the journalist as a “hero.”
In Sudan, the Preparatory Committee for Sudanese Journalists, the Journalists’ Network, the National Umma Parties, the Federal Gathering and the Arab Ba’ath Party condemned the assassination of Abu Akleh, stressing that it was a “flagrant violation of freedoms and rights,” according to separate statements.
Abu Akleh was born in Jerusalem in 1971 and over the past two and a half decades, she was one of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network’s elite journalists covering the situation across the occupied Palestinian territories.
Al Jazeera accused Israeli forces of deliberately killing its veteran journalist Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank, while the Israeli army said that its initial assessments indicated that Abu Akleh was “killed by Palestinian gunmen.”
However, the Palestinian Authority confirmed that Abu Akleh was “shot dead by the Israeli army.”
The Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted the injured journalist Al-Samoudi as saying that the occupation forces targeted journalists directly, which led to him being shot in the back and the death of his colleague Abu Akleh after she was shot in the head.
*Mohammed Alragawi contributed to this article
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