The Asia-Pacific Greens Federation supports and signs on to the statement released by the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEP) regarding the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and the ongoing assault against journalists and human rights around the world.
FYEG’s statement is reproduced with permission below. The original version can be viewed on FYEG’s website here.
Justice for Shireen, Justice for Journalists, Justice for Palestine
On 11 May 2022, veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed while covering and reporting on an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) raid in the Palestinian city of Jenin. Three other journalists were injured but survived. The Palestinian Authorities, Al Jazeera, multiple witness testimonies and available video evidence point towards the IDF as responsible for her death. Witnesses — including journalists who were with Abu Akleh when she was killed — claim that IDF soldiers opened fire on them without warning, and that they believe that they were deliberately targeted as journalists.
Initially, the Israeli Defence Forces pointed towards Palestinian fighters being responsible for Shireen Abu Akleh’s death. Particularly worrying was an early statement by Israeli military spokesperson Ran Kochav in which he described journalists as being “armed with cameras”. However in a recent statement, the IDF has come to accept the possibility that one of its soldiers may have been responsible: “we have narrowed down the IDF weapon that might be involved in the fire exchange near Shireen.”
Shireen Abu Akleh has been recognised as a respected journalist reporting events from the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the outside world. As a Palestinian herself, Shireen Abu Akleh attached great importance to spreading the truth on what is happening in Palestine to regions beyond. Her experience is of very high value for aspiring female journalists who strive to stand for truth. Her death and the circumstances around it corroborate a pattern of violence against the press in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and against Palestinians in general.
The aftermath of her death and the violence used by the Israeli Police against the funeral cortège on 13 May 2022 only confirm the degree of oppression the State of Israel is prepared to employ against Palestinians. In all cultures, the deceased are honoured and respected. Israel’s security forces’ attack against mourners and pall bearers at the funeral of the Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem was deplorable. Unfortunately, this shows us once again the daily atrocities that Palestinians suffer in Israel, such as the further unannounced and oftentimes violent expansion of Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian Territories, leading to more Palestinians being robbed of their homes and livelihoods. According to countless organisations and individuals, including B’Tselem, Al-Haq, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, these signs point toward a developing system of oppression.
As Young Greens, we will always defend the right to freedom of expression and a free press, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. An essential component of democracy is that it is active: it is not just the right to vote but the possibility to constantly influence government decisions. A functioning democracy allows citizens the freedom of thought, expression, assembly and association. If people disagree with the actions of the government, or other forms of governance, it is within their democratic right to demonstrate this in peaceful ways. That is why, we will always fight for the right for all journalists to cover demonstrations freely, without experiencing threats, intimidations or violence, as well as the right for every citizen to document demonstrations and police activities during those demonstrations.
The murder of Shireen is not the only case in which the Israeli Defence Force appeared to target journalists deliberately. Reporters Without Borders has registered over 140 Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists since March 2018. Israel is consistently refusing any international investigation, casting doubt on its capacity to thoroughly investigate Shireen Abu Akleh’s death themselves.
We condemn the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israel Defence Force, and of other Palestinian journalists and citizens under Israeli occupation, and call for an international investigation led neither by Israel nor by the Palestinian Authority.
Every day, Israel infringes international treaties, including international humanitarian law. Therefore, Israel should not be treated as a priority partner by the European Union. The recent events once again demand strong sanctions against the Israeli government by the European Union and European countries. Moreover, we urge the international community, together with a strong collection of civil society organisations, to look into bringing a case forward to the International Criminal Court, in accordance with Articles 7(1)(h) and 7(2)(h) of the 1998 Rome Statute. Lastly we demand that the right to protest is acknowledged and that memorials in Shireen Abu Akleh’s honour are not criminalized, in Israel and abroad.
The crimes of the Israeli government are not reflective of the global Jewish community, and to think otherwise is anti-Semitic. FYEG is committed to the eradication of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other racial, ethnic or religious discrimination in all forms. As Young Greens who advocate for human rights, justice and equality we are also against the oppression of Palestinians and we invite everyone to speak up. We remind everyone of our unheeded demands set in our Resolution “Palestine: Towards The End of Occupation, an Establishment of Peace,” adopted in May 2018.
No one is free until everyone is free. Stop the Occupation! Stop the systematic oppression of Palestinians! Establish peace!
FYEG Executive Committee
Óige Ghlas – Irish Young Greens
Scottish Young Greens
Les Jeunes Écologistes