Israel’s killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American citizen, has hit the headlines of most international media outlets. Shireen was killed while covering the Israeli invasion of the occupied Palestinian city of Jenin, uncovering the brutality of the Israeli occupation and causing a major international crisis for Israel.
From the start, the Israeli occupation tried to adopt a fake narrative about the incident, but it failed to cover up the truth and whitewash its crime.
Naftali Bennett, Israeli prime minister, posted a video on Twitter of Palestinian fighters shooting at an Israeli soldier, claiming that their bullets hit Shireen, but immediately activists and rights groups, including the Israeli B’Tselem, refuted his tweet and proved that Shireen was not shot by the Palestinian fighters who appeared in the video.
“This morning, B’Tselem’s field researcher in Jenin documented the exact locations in which the Palestinian gunman depicted in a video distributed by the Israeli army, fired, as well as the exact location in which Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed,” the rights group tweeted.
Many other Israeli officials have also been involved in the battle of defending the occupation state and its narrative, but so far, all have failed.
It could be the first time that Israel has ever faced such a dilemma that triggered international official and popular outrage and condemnation. Almost all the official international bodies and the great powers have called for Israel to investigate Shireen’s targeting . I know, they are not serious, but trying to pacify people’s anger. If they were serious, they would have obligated Israel to investigate previous murders. Shireen, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, is the 55th Palestinian journalist to be killed by Israel.
All of this pushed Israel to appeal to third parties in order to absorb the international outrage and close this page with the least damage. Israeli journalist Amos Harel wrote in Haaretz: “Wednesday evening saw feverish rounds of communication between Israel and the Palestinian Authority regarding whether the bullet removed from Abu Akleh’s body would be turned over for examination in Israel.”
Jonathan Lis, an Israeli journalist, wrote in Haaretz that Israel had asked Qatar to curb Al Jazeera’s coverage of Shireen’s death and stop its criticism of Israel. “Israel has maintained diverse, albeit clandestine, ties with Qatar, and has asked the country to curb Al Jazeera’s fiery criticism of Israel following the death of reporter Shireen Abu Akleh,” Lis wrote.
Qatar received on Wednesday the initial findings of the investigation, including the Israeli assessment that Abu Akleh was not hit by the fire of the Israeli occupation forces, but by Palestinian fighters, Lis wrote, stating that Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced that Israel will also send the findings to the Palestinian Authority and the United States.
The occupation state has so far exerted great efforts to exonerate itself of the killing, but it failed. Defence and military correspondent of Israeli Walla News, Amir Bohbot, stated that there is still “a significant gap between the Israeli information effort and the effort in the international arena.” He stated that the Israeli claim that it is investigating the incident “is about to end.”
Journalist David Horovitz wrote in the Times of Israel about Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s concerns about the diplomatic damage that the killing of Shireen could cause to Israel. Horovitz reported Lapid saying: “The killing of Shireen abu Akleh threatens substantive damage to Israel — diplomatically, in the court of international public opinion, and as a driver of more terrorism.”
As part of the Israeli efforts to disseminate its fake narrative, the spokesman of the Israeli occupation forces, reported Horovitz, described Shireen and other journalists as being terrorists bearing their own arms – cameras to help broadcast pro-Palestine coverage. The spokesman was reported saying that they “are filming and working for a media outlet amidst armed Palestinians and they are armed with cameras.”
Bennett desperately tried to claim that Israel is “getting used to seeing the world adopt the stories of the Palestinians as absolute truth,” so he formed a Public Diplomacy Directorate “that does not leave the media stage to the inventions and lies of our enemies.” He said that this body is working to orchestrate “better messaging during this public relations crisis.”
All Israeli official and non-official institutions are involved in this battle because they know that the whole world is watching. Horovitz said that the Israeli narrative, that Shireen might have been shot by Palestinians, was initially accepted in the West, but then rejected. The Times of Israel reported an Israeli police official telling Kan public broadcaster that “the whole world is looking at us.”
Former spokesman of the Israeli occupation army, Ofir Sofer, reiterated that Israel is involved in a public relations battle. “As a former IDF spokesman, I assume (and hope) that you understand very well the importance of the State of Israel’s public relations in the world,” he told the Israeli media.
Some Israelis believe that they need to justify to the world the Israeli aggression on Palestinians, and that covering these aggressions is dangerous for journalists. They believe this could help support the Israeli narrative.
“Israel needs to ensure there are representatives speaking on television and other visual media about the necessity of IDF ops and the danger that journalists face in combat zones,” former spokesperson of the Israeli army, Peter Lerner, told the Jerusalem Post.
Israel was created on a lie and has been disseminating lies to justify its existence and to justify its continuous killing of Palestinians, displacing them, stealing their land and property and demolishing their homes. The world and the international media have been complicit in it. Sometimes, when Israel fails to hide its crimes, it fails to produce and promote its fake narratives.
In Shireen’s case, it is not Al Jazeera which is creating news about her, but the brutal Israeli crime which ended her life. She was targeted while wearing a flak jacket clearly displaying the word ‘Press’ and a helmet while standing in an open area surrounded only by journalists. There is video footage and eyewitness accounts of the events of the day.
“With all due respect to us, let’s say that Israel’s credibility is not very high in such cases,” Israeli Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai told Israeli radio 103FM. “We know this. It is based on the past,” he added.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.