Dry Bones: Responsiblity for Akleh's death
Dry Bones: Responsiblity for Akleh's deathY. Kirschen

The media, led by CNN, missed their mark when blaming an Israeli soldier for allegedly firing the bullet that tragically killed Palestinian Arab journalist Shireen Abu Akleh – rather than investigating why that bullet should ever have been fired at all.

The United Nations (UN) and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) jointly share the blame for Akleh’s death –having allowed the security situation in Judea and Samaria ('West Bank') and Gaza to progressively worsen by doing nothing to procure the commencement of negotiations between Israel and the PLO on former US President Donald Trump’s Peace Plan released on 28 January 2020 (see image following).

Trump’s Plan offered the promise of a second Arab State under stated conditions – in addition to Jordan:

  • In 70% of the last remaining 5% of the territory comprised in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine where sovereignty still remains disputed between Jews and Arabs - plus
  • Additional areas located within Israel’s current sovereign boundaries - and
  • Self-determination for 95% of the West Bank’s Arab population and 100% of Gaza’s population.

Trump’s plan - agreed to in principle by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a basis for negotiations – was rejected outright by PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as a “conspiracy”

The UN’s refusal to insist that the PLO negotiate with Israel on Trump’s plan was the catalyst for the upsurge in violence that has followed in the last two years – resulting in the deaths and wounding of thousands of Palestinian Arabs, Israelis and foreign nationals - when Trump’s plan offered a way forward towards an end to this carnage which started 100 years ago.

Instead - 7 CNN Reporters and 2 CNN Video Cameramen put together a report headlined:

“’They were shooting directly at the journalists': New evidence suggests Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in targeted attack by Israeli forces”

CNN at least used the word “suggests” rather than “establishes”.

Not so Al Jazeera which headlined its report:

“Shireen Abu Akleh: Al Jazeera reporter killed by Israeli forces”

A later statement from Al Jazeera indicated it had not resiled from its unproven claim:

“In addition to the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli Occupation Forces outside Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on May 11, 2022, the case file will also include the Israeli bombing and total destruction of Al Jazeera’s office in Gaza in May 2021, as well as the continuous incitements and attacks on its journalists operating in the occupied Palestinian territories”.

No mention was made of Israel’s claim that the Gazan building housing Al Jazeera: "contained military assets belonging to Hamas military intelligence,"

The Jenin refugee camp should have been closed after it came under the PLO’s administration in 1995 with its 14000 occupants being resettled in Jenin or other 'West Bank' Arab towns and villages.

The UN has never called for Jenin Camp’s closure –despite UNRWA labelling it as experiencing:“one of the highest rates of unemployment and poverty among the 19 West Bank refugee camps.”

Nor does the UN question why those 19 refugee camps are open today – being located in the territory of Areas A and B – called Palestine by that body and a non-member observer state of the UN.

The UN keeps repeating its mantra for a two-state solution- which Trump’s plan provides for – but refuses to call on the PLO to negotiate with Israel on the final contours of Trump’s proposed new State.

Instead the UN continues to take note of the quarterly reports prepared by Tor Wennesland - United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process – detailing the cycle of violence that peace negotiations could have helped prevent.

The UN and the PLO have a lot to answer for the bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh.

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.