Once again, the world woke yesterday to the news that Israel had targeted a journalist, this time killing Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh. The 51-year-old died after a sniper bullet struck her just between the areas covered by her helmet and her ‘Press’ flak jacket.
An icon of Palestinian media, Abu Akleh had covered Israel’s oppression of Palestinians for decades, joining Al Jazeera in 1997, a year after it launched.
Communities in Latin America came together to denounce the occupation’s actions. “We condemn the targeting of the Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, as the Israeli occupation forces shot and killed her while she was wearing her press jacket,” Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil Paulo Pimenta said during a Chamber Session, clarifying the Israeli aim to obstruct media coverage of its attack against Palestinians and to silence the press and journalists.
Brazil’s Congress, along with the Joint Parliamentary Front for the Rights of the Palestinian People, condemned in the strongest terms Israel’s violent assassination and deliberate targeting of the Al Jazeera journalist.
“The killing of journalists and academics is a repeated practice of the Israeli occupation forces who aim to silence the truth of their crimes against humanity and Palestinians,” the Joint Parliamentary Front for the Rights of the Palestinian People – which is made up of federal representatives and members of the Brazilian Senate – said.
They demanded Israel “be held accountable for its violations against the Palestinians, and it must respect United Nations resolutions and international covenants.”
Congressman Nilto Tatto said: “A large group of parliamentarians have felt that there is a need to take a stance against what Israel did to the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.” As a result, he added, he and his colleagues are hoping to “apply international pressure” to hold Israel accountable.
“What Israel did is a clear crime of killing, as Shireen Abu Aqleh was doing her journalistic work with high professionalism, and Israel clearly saw this, but they insisted on targeting her.”
Brazil, El Salvador and Chile have repeatedly condemned Israel’s abuses of Palestinians. The Chilean-Palestinian Parliamentary Group, which emanates from the Chilean Senate, condemned the targeting of Abu Aqleh saying: “We repudiate this attack on a journalist and we hope that the international community will do something as it takes daily actions to help victims in Ukraine.”
The Palestinians have the right to struggle against those who violate their human rights and commit war crimes against them, it added.
The Palestinian community in El Salvador “strongly” condemned the targeting of journalist Abu Akleh describing it as a “crime and a violation of Palestinian and international press freedoms”.
Controlling media output is, of course, a characteristic of an oppressive regime, and Israel seeks to do this by targeting journalists and their institutions. Preventing the true picture of its brutal occupation reaching the world means silencing voices of truth.
“The Palestinian people shouldn’t give up their struggle to fulfil their rights,” Latin American officials said in their letter. “They can count on our support, solidarity and endorsement of their fight for freedom and an independent State of Palestine.”
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.