One year after the untimely death of Al Jazeera’s journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, the Israel military and the Israel Defence Forces, have apologized for the first time.
This apology is coming one year after Akleh was shot dead while covering an Israeli military operation in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, with another journalist Ali Al Samudi, who was also shot.
Speaking with CNN, IDF’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said, ”I think it’s an opportunity for me to say here that we are very sorry for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”
This apology will be a first for IDF for the killing of the well-known correspondent, after admitting last year that there was a “high possibility” she was shot by an Israeli soldier.
“She was a journalist, a very established journalist. In Israel, we value our democracy and in a democracy, we see high value in journalism and in a free press. We want journalists to feel safe in Israel, especially in wartime, even if they criticize us,” said Hagari.
The apology is coming days after The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published a report stating that no accountability was taken by the Israeli military over the killings of at least 20 journalists over the past two decades.
According to the press advocacy group, at least 20 journalists have been killed by Israeli military fire since 2001, adding that 18 of those killed were Palestinian. “No one has ever been charged or held accountable for these deaths,” the press release said.
Since admitting for the first time last September that there was a “high possibility” Abu Akleh was “accidentally” shot and killed by Israeli fire, its Military Advocate General’s Office in a statement stated that it did not intend to pursue criminal charges or prosecutions of any of the soldiers involved.
Responding to the CPJ report earlier this month, the IDF said it “regrets any harm to civilians during operational activity and considers the protection of the freedom of the press and the professional work of journalists to be of great importance.”
“The IDF does not intentionally target noncombatants, and live fire in combat is used only after all other options have been exhausted,” it said in the statement