A month later, still no justice in sight for our beloved Shireen | Israelo-Palestinian conflict
A month has passed since the assassination of beloved Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli army in Jenin.
A whole month has passed, but many of us in Palestine are still struggling to accept that Shireen is no longer with us, that she is no longer there to give voice to our struggle, that we will not hear never his iconic signature – “Shireen Abu Akleh, Aljazeeeera, Filasteen” – ever again.
As I try to process this immense loss, as I count the days since I received that initial notification of his death, I repeatedly ask myself: are we any closer to justice for Shireen?
Unfortunately, a month later, the answer to that question is a resounding “no”.
Indeed, justice for Shireen is still as far away as it always has been – as far away as it still is for each of the Palestinian victims of Israel’s systematic and murderous violence for decades.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope.
Shireen’s murder mobilized the Palestinian streets in a way I had never seen before.
His funeral was one of the longest and most attended in recent Palestinian history – it lasted three days and about 100 km (62 miles). People from all corners of our occupied and violated homeland stood up to pay their respects and demand justice for Shireen.
Shireen’s coffin was first carried through the Jenin refugee camp, where she was murdered, before heading to al-Najah National University in Nablus for a military funeral ceremony.
In Ramallah, mourners took to the streets to bid him farewell well before the start of the official ceremony at Al-Muqata’a, the presidential headquarters. In Jerusalem, the streets were filled with thousands of people carrying Palestinian flags in his honor. Despite the brutal violence inflicted on mourners by the Israeli occupying forces, the people of Jerusalem persevered and locked themselves together for hours to ensure that the city Shireen loved most showed her the respect she loved. deserved.
Shireen was the daughter of Jerusalem, the daughter of Palestine. She has spent her life telling the true story of this land to the world. And even in her death, she managed to bring us all together and increase our commitment to our fight for freedom, dignity and justice.
None of us expect the Israeli forces who murdered Shireen to admit their crime or seek atonement. None of us are naive enough to believe that his killers – not only those who pulled the trigger, but also those who created the conditions for his murder – will be held accountable for what they did to him, as well as to the Palestinian people.
But the outpouring of love and solidarity sparked by Shireen’s murder in Palestine still gives me hope that despite all the brutality inflicted on us by the Israeli occupation, Palestinians are moving forward together towards building a better and the search for freedom.
As expected, Israel first lied about what happened in Jenin on the morning of May 11, 2022, then even refused to investigate what we all know was a cold-blooded murder of a journalist in service, citing “political complexities”.
We had testimony from several Palestinian journalists and witnesses, lots of video evidence and lots of experts who weighed in. They all agreed that it was Israeli fire that killed Shireen. CNN went even further and after analyzing all available evidence, all possible scenarios, all bullet marks left at the scene, concluded that Shireen was killed in “a targeted attack” by Israeli forces.
But no evidence in the world was enough to stop the Israeli propaganda machine. Israel continued its campaign to muddy the waters and hold the Palestinians in check. He kept claiming that it was not possible to know what had happened, that even if it was an Israeli bullet that had killed Shireen, it was somehow the fault of the Palestinians.
And people believed those lies. Or at least chose to repeat them because it was politically convenient to do so. Even the so-called US “official gazette” recently claimed that “the world still knows very little about who is responsible for [Shireen’s] death”.
This is, of course, a lie. The world knows who is responsible for his death. Israel knows who is responsible for his death. And, more importantly, we Palestinians know who is responsible for his death.
Shireen was killed by Israel. She was killed for doing her job. She was killed because she was a journalist and told the story of Palestine. She was killed because she wanted to give a voice to the people of Jenin and all other Palestinians brutalized by the Israeli occupying forces.
There may be no justice in sight. But even in death, Shireen gives us hope. His legacy strengthens our resolve to continue the fight. His memory encourages budding journalists across Palestine to pursue his mission and expose the ugliness of the Israeli occupation.
Since Shireen’s murder on May 11, Israeli forces have killed another 12 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank alone. This number includes Thaer al-Yazouri, 18, killed in al-Bireh, near Ramallah; Amjad al-Fayed, 17, killed in Jenin refugee camp; Ghaith Yamin, 16, killed in the city of Nablus; Zaid Ghneim, 15, killed in Bethlehem; Odeh Odeh, 17, killed in the village of al-Midya near Ramallah.
I list their names because, like Shireen, those young Palestinian lives lost to senseless Israeli fire also deserve justice.
Israel will continue to do everything in its power to cover its tracks, to try to make the Palestinians believe that it is not Israel that is responsible for the deaths of Shireen, Thaer, Amjad, Ghaith, Zaid, Odeh and countless other innocent Palestinians.
Justice for them may not be in sight, but after witnessing the outpouring of love and solidarity that followed Shireen’s murder, and after seeing how every Israeli bullet that kills a Palestinian strengthens Palestinian determination to resist, to remember and to fight, I am more hopeful for the future today than ever before.
Some media claim that a month after Shireen’s assassination, there is now “relative calm” in Palestine. But there is no “relative calm” for Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal occupation. We are all bound by our duty to Shireen and the others we have lost to Israel’s senseless violence to resist, to speak our truth, to keep fighting.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.