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The Carter Center Condemns the Killing of Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Calls for an Independent Investigation

ATLANTA (May 11, 2022) — The Carter Center condemns the killing of Al Jazeera news correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American, and calls for an independent investigation into the incident. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Abu Akleh was killed on May 11 while covering an Israeli military incursion into the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. Another journalist, Ali Al Smoudi, was shot in the back. The Jenin camp is in the occupied West Bank and has been under Israeli blockade for weeks. It has been at the center of confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, who raid the Palestinian refugee camp on a regular basis.

Her death comes a year after the Israeli air force destroyed a building in Gaza hosting the offices of media organizations, including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press. The targeting of journalists in the Palestinian territories is a human rights violation and appears to be motivated by a desire to obscure the brutality of the occupation and to silence crucial voices.

“The Carter Center calls on Israeli authorities to guarantee the safety of journalists and to respect human rights, including freedom of the press,” said Paige Alexander, Carter Center CEO. “We applaud U.S. Ambassador Nides’ call for a thorough investigation into her death.”

According to Al Jazeera and the other journalists at the scene, the journalists had made themselves known to the Israeli soldiers, and Abu Akleh was wearing a press jacket and helmet when she was shot.

Even though witnesses described the situation before the shooting as calm, Israeli police initially blamed Palestinian bullets for Akleh’s death and raided her family house in the Beit Hanina neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where hundreds of people had gathered following the news of her death. The police attempted to remove Palestinian flags and stop the crowd from playing national Palestinian songs.

Abu Akleh’s funeral will take place on May 12 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. She will be buried in Jerusalem, but many of her friends and colleagues will not be able to attend her burial because Israeli restrictions prevent most West Bank Palestinian citizens from visiting East Jerusalem.

For More Information:
In Ramallah: Qais Asád, qaisassad@cartercenter.org
In Atlanta: Soyia Ellison, soyia.ellison@cartercenter.org