The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) strongly condemns the assassination of a Palestinian journalist who worked for Al Jazeera, Shireen Abu Akleh. Shireen was assassinated whilst covering one of the atrocious raids by Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank.
During the incident, a colleague of Shireen, Ali al-Somoudi, was also shot. He has fortunately survived the attack and is recovering from his injuries.
According to Al Jazeera, al-Somoudi and other journalists were shot by Israeli soldiers despite there being no confrontation between them and the Palestinian liberation fighters.
This account of events nullifies Israel administration’s version that Shireen was hit by the shots coming from Palestinian liberation fighters.
That Israeli soldiers shot at these journalists unprovoked nor being engaged in an exchange of fire with Palestinian liberation fighters, supports the argument that this heinous act was indeed an assassination. The attempts to cover it by spinning the reports by the Israeli military is despicable to say the least.
The death of Shireen is but one of many such brutal killings carried by the Israeli regime against journalists and the Palestinian population in general. Reports indicate that the
Israel regime has killed more than 50 Palestinian journalists since 2001, and more than 144 journalists have been injured in the past four years.
Like the more than 50 journalists who have been killed since 2001, and many more before that, the killing of Shireen is not just a random killing of a Palestinian, it is aimed at striking fear and intimidation into the hearts of all brave journalists who are covering the criminal activities of the Israeli regime.
Most disappointing, however, is that the risks which Shireen and other journalists take daily to expose the criminal acts and atrocities committed by the Israeli military, the world has not reacted with the necessary and appropriate response. The illegal occupation of Palestine has been allowed to continue, and the major global powers and institutions are doing nothing concrete to end such an occupation and put a stop to the human rights
abuses by the Israeli regime.
This is one of the reason why people in the third world have largely scorned and scolded the bemoaning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine by Western powers and global institutions, as hypocritical. The world has neglected such criminal acts and human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli regime in Palestine, despite many reports exposing them by many brave journalists in such hazardous conditions.
In concert with the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (PSA) in South Africa, we register our distaste and utter contempt for the killing of Shireen as a way of amplifying the voices of the Palestinian people, who have been suffering at the hands of a racist Zionist regime whilst the world powers have looked on in ignorance.
SAFTU condemns the intimidation, harassment and killing of journalists in Palestine, and other war ridden regions where such heinous acts are committed. In South Africa’s past, the harassment and killing of journalists was common and sanctioned by the white minority regime —as is the case in Palestine.
We reiterate our long standing call that the ANC government must sever economic and political ties with Israel. Having attained our liberation through, amongst others, the international solidarity movement that pushed for sanctions and divestments, it is only logical for the ANC government to demonstrate its solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine by severing all economic and political relations with Israel.
In the spirit of international working class solidarity, we extend our condolences to the family of Shireen Abu Akleh and to all Palestinians.