I was preparing to write a different post when the news of the tragic death of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh first appeared. Her face was familiar, since I frequently watch Al Jazeera news. What I was not totally prepared for was the media circus that followed.
The Palestinians were quick to blame Israel, and being first with a press release meant they got early coverage in most of the media around the world, The Palestinian accusation was made before anyone, including themselves, had time to take a critical look at the event. Here are a few salient points that the major media seemed to overlook.
- The very first video clip I saw had a voice track with a Palestinian shouting in Arabic, “Look! Look! I hit a (Israeli) soldier, He’s on the ground.” That voice clip was edited out of every subsequent clip. It’s important because there were NO Israeli casualties during the gunfight. Who did he really hit?
- The Israeli force was entering Jenin on a preventive raid to arrest terror suspects and confiscate arms. In the past, such operations were conducted with the cooperation of Palestinian Authority Police. This time, the Palestinian Authority wasn’t involved because PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordered his forces not to cooperate with Israel at all. This order came long before the current wave of terror. Incidentally, Jenin is a stronghold of the Hamas terror organization, bitter opponents of Abbass’s Fatah party. The Palestinian Police themselves avoid entering Jenin alone.
- Preventive security operations like this are often carried out in many locations. When they occur in places not under the sway of Hamas there is no gunfight. The reason for the exchange of fire was the actions of Jenin based Hamas armed terrorists who opened fire on the Israeli troops.
- The body of the victim was taken by the Palestinians. Mahmoud Abbass said his people are conducting a post-mortem. He categorically refused to have a joint Israeli-Palestinian investigation. He also refused to have any other outside body participate. Add to this his refusal to even let Israel see the bulllet recovered from her body in order to compare it, ballistically, with the weapons of all the soldiers who were involved in the incident. Why? Did he have something to hide? Perhaps it was just because he wanted to control the narrative in the media.
Shireen Abu Akleh had a reputation for good reporting. It is sad that she was killed while trying to do her job. Turning her death into an anti-Israel media circus is not the way she should be remembered.