An Al Jazeera Reporter’s Death and the Palestinian Agenda
In the early hours of May 11, the IDF conducted a raid in the Jenin refugee camp, which has been a hotbed of terrorist activity over the last few weeks. IDF forces, together with Shin Bet domestic security service agents who were trying to apprehend terrorist suspects, came under heavy fire from armed Palestinians shooting wildly in the narrow streets of the camp.
During the battle, Al Jazeera’s veteran television correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was killed (reportedly from a shot to the head), and another of the station’s journalists was shot in the back. As Abu Akleh is also an American citizen, the United States called for a “thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist.”
Footage of Palestinian gunmen shooting indiscriminately in the alleyways of Jenin was published, as evidence of their reckless behavior, but an analysis by the Israeli group B’Tselem of the area shown in the video and the location where the reporter was shot, appears to indicate that these are two different sites.
The IDF has already committed to investigate the tragic incident as part of its regular protocols. Defense Minister Benny Gantz addressed the issue and while stating his support for the IDF soldiers acting to protect the country, also expressed sorrow for Abu Akleh’s death. He reiterated the commitment of Israel to a thorough and transparent investigation, called upon the Palestinian leadership to conduct a joint investigation and autopsy, and promised to provide a detailed report on the issue to the parties involved.
This seems like the sensible thing to do — conduct a joint investigation, analyze the findings, and commit to transparency and open reporting on the issue. But the actions of the Palestinian side have shown that they are committed to a different agenda: exploit the incident to scapegoat Israel, regardless of truth, consequence, or integrity.
First, the Palestinian leadership denied Israel’s request for a joint investigation and autopsy. The Palestinians rushed Abu Akleh’s body to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at An-Najah University in Nablus, where an autopsy was carried out.
Second, as evidence emerged on social media of the reckless actions of Palestinian gunmen in Jenin, there was a coordinated effort by Palestinians (and others) to destroy evidence and delete any footage on social media of the clashes in Jenin, so as to prevent the truth from emerging and to dispute the narrative about the death.
Third, a narrative that claimed Israeli forces targeted the reporter deliberately was propagated. Al Jazeera claimed that the reporter was “assassinated in cold blood,” while Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian minister for civilian affairs, stated: “The truth is murdered by the bullets of the occupation.”
Fourth, the reporter was hailed as a hero by the Palestinian leadership and media. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided to lead a ceremony honoring Abu Akleh at the Palestinian presidential compound in Ramallah, while Hamas produced a video clip praising her work on behalf of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian campaign to establish a narrative of Israeli guilt and premeditation — and to disrupt the ability to get to the bottom of events — is in full swing.
It is no less regrettable, but nevertheless predictable, that the only Palestinian in Congress, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), promotes these abhorrent accusations and condemns Israel as an “apartheid state” that “continues to murder, torture and commit war crimes” and “murdered” Shireen Abu Akleh.
So let us bring some clarity to the affair and try to cut through the propaganda and narratives that the Palestinians have inundated the media with:
The IDF operation in Jenin was part of an ongoing effort to end the current wave of Palestinian terror attacks, many of which originated in Jenin. The deadly attacks in Bnei Brak (March 29), Tel Aviv (April 7), and Elad (May 5) were all perpetrated by residents of the Jenin area.
The terrorists who conducted these attacks all worked in Israel (without a permit), and got there rather easily through gaps in the security fence. Israel has in recent years been trying to improve the social and economic conditions of the Palestinians and did not crack down on these activities. This oversight had to change when the Palestinians launched a campaign of terror attacks in Israel. The operation in Jenin was thus justified and unavoidable.
The IDF does not target the press deliberately. Such an accusation is nothing but a blood libel, propagated by the Palestinians and their supporters, who ignore the various Palestinian terrorism and incitement.
Al Jazeera is not an ordinary media outlet. Much like RT is used by Russia, Al Jazeera is used by Qatar to promote its agenda, and acts as a propaganda channel on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Al Jazeera has served as a mouthpiece for Hamas, and its blatant support for the terrorist group has even led Israel to consider shutting down its operations in the country.
The Palestinians have been trying to get into the spotlight, by comparing themselves to Ukrainians or attempting to turn Ramadan into a rallying call against Israeli control of the holy sites in Jerusalem. Using the unfortunate death of the reporter is just another attempt to gain attention.
Even at a time when fake news triumphs over reason, and catchy narratives rule the day, carefully gathering and analyzing the facts should still matter in the world.
LTC. Yochai Guiski (IDF, Ret.) is a publishing Expert at The MirYam Institute. He is a 23 year veteran of the IDF. He retired in 2020 as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving in the Israeli Military Intelligence.
The MirYam Institute is the leading international forum for Israel focused discussion, dialogue, and debate, focused on campus presentations, engagement with international legislators, and gold-standard trips to the State of Israel. Follow their work at www.MirYamInstitute.org.