No one has been held to account in Israel for media deaths. That is bad for its democracy
The shooting of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Aqleh – one of the Arab world’s best-known journalists – is not only a sad and devastating blow to friends and admirers, but a deadly reminder that press freedoms in the Holy Land are under attack. Abu Aqleh was among a group of journalists covering a raid by the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday when, according to the reporters present, soldiers shot her in the head. She and her producer (who was shot in the back) were wearing vests marked with the word “press”. Her Qatar-based employer accused Israeli soldiers of shooting Abu Aqleh “in cold blood”.
Israel’s response was a familiar one: claim the shooter was a Palestinian. This approach was largely abandoned when the army’s evidence was debunked. Israel now says its troops may have “accidentally” shot her. But public arguments over ballistics suggest Israel thinks guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt – or blame for the killing cannot be assigned.