John Minto: Exposing Israel’s horrific record in targeted killing of journalists

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A street artist adds to a mural of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh
A street artist adds to a mural of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, killed by Israeli troops in Israeli-occupied West Bank, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Image: Arab News

COMMENTARY: By John Minto

A detailed study of the killing of journalists released this week by Countercurrents shows that Israel leads the world in this grimmest of statistics:

Apartheid Israel tops the ranking by “average number of journalists killed per 10 million of population per year” that yields the following order:

Occupied Palestine, over 6.164; Syria, 4.733; Afghanistan, 2.563; Israel-Palestine, over 2.190; Somalia, 1.751; Yemen, 1.278; Iraq, 0.897; Mexico, 0.750; Colombia, 0.366; Philippines, 0.283; Pakistan, 0.152; World, 0.084; India, 0.027.

On a per capita basis, the killing of journalists by Apartheid Israel in Occupied Palestine leads the world, and is 73.4 times greater than for the world as a whole. In contrast, India scores 3.1 times lower than the world. The present data shows that Apartheid Israel leads the world by far for killing journalists.

Israel has a long sordid history of targeting and murdering journalists reporting on its war crimes against the Palestinian people and last month’s killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh should be seen as part of this pattern.

Shireen’s killing hit the headlines because she had such a high profile across the Arab world and was an American citizen.

The New Zealand government waited a week before issuing an insipid tweet calling for an independent investigation into Shireen’s killing.

The US has also been embarrassed into claiming it is “deeply upset” about the killing — usually the US looks the other way, giving impunity to its racist, apartheid proxy in Palestine.

Journalists in US speak up
But journalists in the US are speaking up — even mainstream journalists are beginning to speak out. CNN, for example, has conducted its own probe into the killing and in part concluded:

“From the strike marks on the tree it appears that the shots, one of which hit Shireen, came from down the street from the direction of the IDF troops. The relatively tight grouping of the rounds indicate Shireen was intentionally targeted with aimed shots and not the victim of random or stray fire”

Other journalists are also trying to hold the US to account for the impunity it gives to Israeli war crimes:

During a Summit of the Americas event last night in Los Angeles, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was questioned by journalist Abby Martin about the killing of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Secretary Blinken, what about Shireen Abu Akleh?,” asked Martin. “She was murdered by Israeli forces. CNN just agreed to this. These are our two greatest allies in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“They have murdered American journalists and there have been absolutely no repercussions . . . you’re sitting up here talking about the freedom of press and democracy. The United States is denying sovereignty to tens of millions of people around the world with draconian sanctions for electing leaders that you do not like.

“Why is there no accountability for Israel or Saudi Arabia for murdering journalists?”

“I deplore the loss of Shireen,” Blinken responded. “She was a remarkable journalist, an American citizen…We are looking for an independent, credible investigation. When that investigation happens, we will follow the facts, wherever they lead. It’s as straightforward as that.”

Deafening silence on Assange
Meanwhile, there has been a deafening silence from most journalists about the plight of Julian Assange who has been persecuted by the US and its allies for exposing the truth behind the US pursuit of endless wars around the globe.

Exposing Israel’s horrific record in the targeted killing of journalists is journalism at its best. Silence about the fate of Julian Assange is journalism at its worst.

John Minto is a political activist and commentator, and spokesperson for Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa. This article was first published by The Daily Blog and is republished with the author’s permission.

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