Days of Palestine

Tuesday, March 21

Al Jazeera Office in Ramallah Organizes Vigil in Site Shireen Abu Akleh was Murdered, 100 days later


Al Jazeera office in Ramallah organized on Thursday, August 18th a vigil at the site of the martyrdom of colleague Shireen Abu Aqleh in Jenin refugee camp, on the occasion of 100 days since her martyrdom.

“We will not bring Sherine back to life, but we seek justice.” With these words, the director of Al Jazeera’s office in Palestine, Walid Al-Omari, summed up the efforts to investigate the murder of journalist Sherine Abu Akleh, 100 days after her death.

In preparing the file that it seeks to submit to the International Criminal Court, Al Jazeera network reached advanced stages, the last of which was the hearing of 6 witnesses by its British lawyers, who are assigned to follow up on the case, after Israel obstructed the travel of two of them.

At the end of last May, the network decided to refer the file of the assassination of its correspondent, Sherine Abu Aqleh, to the International Criminal Court and formed a legal alliance to follow up on the crime in international judicial bodies.

Al Jazeera’s efforts are accompanied by its cooperation to provide crime-related documents to any international judicial body seeking to investigate this file.

Walid Al-Omari explained to Al-Jazeera Net, that “the file that Al-Jazeera’s lawyers are preparing is concerned only with the assassination of Sherine Abu Akleh, but this does not prevent any cooperation with other parties that have submitted files to investigate violations against Palestinian journalists.”

The Director of Al Jazeera’s office in Palestine Walid Al-Omari holds the protective jacket that Sherine wore at the time of her martyrdom

Syndicate and official bodies

Among these parties is the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, which, in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists, submitted a request to the Criminal Court to investigate the assassination of Shireen Abu Aqleh, as part of a series of files targeting Palestinian journalists.

In addition, the Palestinian Authority – through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs – filed a complaint in this regard with the Attorney General of the International Criminal Court, to add the crime of Shireen’s assassination to a wide file on “intentional killing” that seeks through the Palestinians to prosecute Israel criminally.

Al-Omari said that Israel is working to obstruct these efforts and refuses to conduct a criminal investigation, which will mean – in the event of – revealing the identity of the Israeli soldier who fired the bullet, the officer responsible for him, and the head of the unit responsible for them, up to the Minister of the Army, which the occupation has so far rejected absolutely. And he’s trying to get help from the United States.

Al-Omari added, “The United States was supposed to move to investigate the killing of its citizen, but so far it has not done the required effort.”The family is considering going to the American court
In addition to the efforts made by the Al-Jazeera network, more than one party is working so far to prepare files to be submitted to the International Criminal Court and other courts, led by the martyr’s family.

Her brother, Tony Abu Aqleh, said, “We cooperated with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate to raise the case to the International Criminal Court, and now we are studying all possible options to file individual cases on our part as a family before the American courts.”

Abu Aqleh told Al Jazeera Net, “We will cooperate with any party that achieves justice for Shireen, and we will not let go of pursuing this case.”

Palestinian journalists and representatives of their union condemn the assassination of Shireen in Gaza City

8 investigations and 8 witnesses

In preparing the file, Al-Jazeera relies on 8 witnesses, including journalists and citizens, who were at the site of Shirin’s assassination. It is based on a number of press investigations, including an investigation carried out by Al Jazeera itself, the investigation of the Palestinian Attorney General, and some indications about the type and source of the bullet.

Among the analyses, investigations were conducted by the American Associated Press, CNN, the Washington Post, Haaretz, and the New York Times. All of which proved that the bullet that killed Shireen came from the Israeli soldiers.

In addition, an investigation was conducted by the Israeli organization B’Tselem (a human rights organization working to document the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians), as well as the Palestinian Al-Haq Foundation.

The director of Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, explains that his organization is still in the framework of collecting and proving evidence to complete the legal file and submit it to the International Criminal Court as well.

Jabarin told Al Jazeera Net that the size of Shireen Abu Aqila’s case and the international momentum it has gotten, makes the responsibility to work on this file greater. He explained that there is coordination with more than one party, and the file that is being prepared will be a reference on the information and technical level, without disclosing its content.

According to Jabareen, Al-Haq will provide the file it is working on to every judicial body willing to carry it, the first of which is the International Criminal Court. He said that “a crime of this weight requires more time in research and investigation if there is seriousness in dealing with it, but the occupation does not show any seriousness until now except in an attempt to obliterate the file.”

On the possibility of the criminal court’s slowing down or “reluctance”, as happened in previous files that were submitted to it regarding Israeli crimes, Jabarin answered that the great interest in the martyred journalist’s case, and the constant pressure from the lawyers’ teams assigned from all sides, will force the court to work seriously.

The third file of the Syndicate of Journalists

The cooperation that colleague Sherine’s brother talked about with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate was – according to a member of its general secretariat Omar Nazzal – by filing a complaint with the Public Prosecutor of the Criminal Court as a first step toward depositing the integrated file in the court, which the union is working on preparing.

But, where is the file now? Nazzal says, “A few days ago, the team of lawyers asked the Palestinian Authority and Israel to examine the material evidence (the bullet) in addition to the Palestinian representative’s report, and there was a direct response from the Palestinian side and so far no response from Israel.”

On the possibility of obstructing the completion of the file in the event that Israel does not respond, Nazzal said that this is in addition to the main complaint of the Criminal Court, with a request to compel the party to refrain from providing the required information.

Sherine Abu Aqleh’s case is the third that has been submitted to the International Criminal Court by the Syndicate of Journalists. The first concerns the deposition of the two crimes of journalists Yasser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein, who were killed by Israel while covering the return marches on the Gaza border. They have a file of two journalists who lost their eyes after being targeted by the Israeli army, at the International Court.

As for the second issue, it focuses on targeting media institutions in Gaza during the Israeli aggression in May 2021 with bombing and destruction.

What is the story of Omar Shakir, whom Israel is trying to deport?

Omar Shaker: All independent and serious investigations indicate that the Israeli forces shot Shireen (Al-Jazeera)
International pressure to investigate
In addition to the American and Palestinian investigations, international human rights organizations have been lobbying for an investigation into the assassination of Sherine, including Human Rights Watch, which called for the occupation to be held accountable for this crime, which falls within the “grave violations” by Israel against the Palestinians.

Omar Shakir, the organization’s director in Israel and Palestine, says that all independent and serious investigations indicate that the Israeli forces fired at Shireen Abu Akleh.

Shaker added to Al Jazeera Net, “We heard weeks ago from the US Secretary of State that Israel was conducting investigations, but without proof of this, the Israeli authorities have a long history of whitewashing its violations.”

According to Shaker, the murder of Shirin emphasizes the need to move forward with the investigation of Israel’s crimes in Palestine, and this falls within the purpose for which the International Criminal Court was established.

Shakir pointed out that the routine use of excessive force by the Israeli army and its pattern of indiscriminate fire has led to the killing and injury of journalists in the past. He added, “Millions of Palestinians today live in a reality of structural violence and apartheid, with complete impunity for Israel for its crime