Earlier this year IINZ provided commentary on the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the media response that followed. That commentary by Dr Sheree Trotter was picked up by renowned french documentary maker, Pierre Rehov and some of the footage is included in his newly released documentary, ‘Lies and Tears’.
Some of Rehov’s conclusions:
UNPRECEDENTED CAMPAIGN: Since 1990, 2658 journalists have been killed in the line of duty. None of them has had the media coverage of Shireen Abu Akleh. The well-organized campaign launched by the Palestinian Authority around her death has almost no precedent.
UNFOUNDED ACCUSATION: Assuming that an Israeli soldier was really responsible for the death of the Al Jazeera journalist, the accusation that it was a deliberate shooting is unfounded. The film shows that at such a distance no one could see the “press” sign on Shireen’s bulletproof vest. Palestinian gunmen were firing at Israeli soldiers from all directions.
FALSE WITNESSES: The “witnesses” who were at the scene and first to accuse Israel of murder are claiming to be impartial journalists. They are, in fact, propagandists of the Palestinian Authority, as the film clearly shows.
DISTORTION OF FINDINGS: CNN, The Washington Post and Bellingcat, called on Professor Maher, a forensic specialist and sound analyst, to define the distance between the journalist and the shooter from videos shot at the time of the tragedy, but they distorted his report to accuse the Israeli army. Professor Maher’s analysis, which Rehov also obtained, describes a distance between the sound recorders and the shooter, not between the journalist and the shooter. This “detail” leads to a difference of more than 20 meters which places the shooter further north of the army’s most extreme position. Yet, this critical detail has been glossed over in all the official versions, concluding that Israel is responsible.
Professor Maher’s calculation was made for an M4, a weapon frequently used by Israeli soldiers. But if the bullet was fired from any other weapon with a longer barrel, the distance shortens again and places the shooter more than 40 meters north of the Israeli position.
OMISSIONS: Witnesses, including one of the “journalists” who was near Shireen Abu Akleh at the time of the tragedy, mention the presence of gunmen in a house not far from them. These testimonies have never been taken up by the media. They describe “snipers,” but the film formally demonstrates that it was impossible for Israeli “snipers” to have been in these positions. There were men shooting at the journalists from the buildings. They could not be Israelis. So, who were they?
EXPERT TESTIMONY: The film gives the floor to high-level international experts, including a French GIGN officer, court-appointed forensic expert Alain Artuso, and physicist Nahum Shahaf. Each of them, according to their expertise, points out several mistakes made by those who accuse the Israeli army.
The conclusions of the film will be taken up by the Shurat Hadin organization, which has opened a complaint before the ICC against Mahmoud Abbas, because he is responsible for the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which were responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.
Meanwhile, controversy continues to surround the killing of Abu Akleh with the recent news that the FBI will be launching an investigation after months of pressure from Akleh’s family. This, even though the US State Department undertook a forensic examination in July of the bullet that killed Abu Akleh. Both the US State Department and IDF investigations, which concluded in September, found that that the reporter was likely unintentionally shot by an Israeli soldier in an exchange of fire with Palestinian terrorists, but that there was no conclusive evidence.
Israel has stated that it will not cooperate with the FBI investigation, as the US observed and took part in the Israeli investigation and was privy to its details.