On May 11, 2022, Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank. As of May 15, there is no definitive information as to whether she was killed by an Israeli or Palestinian, and whether she was targeted or her death was accidental. The report of the Palestinian pathologist who examined Abu Akleh’s body (May 11) and a preliminary IDF review of the incident (May 13) were both inconclusive.

Predictably, the same chorus of NGOs that claim any Israeli use of force is a war crime, immediately accused Israel of killing the journalist, amplifying the PA’s position that the incident demanded an ICC investigation, while calling for more BDS measures.

Many NGOs ignored the uncertainty surrounding the episode and immediately alleged that Israeli forces were responsible, committed war crimes, and even unlawfully targeted her because she was a journalist. It should be noted: even if the evidence shows that an Israeli soldier fired the fatal shot, that does not mean the soldier acted unlawfully. Similarly to other NGO pronouncements on war crimes, NGOs lack the credible research methodology necessary to draw credible conclusions about the incident. They cannot know what soldiers and officers were thinking during the firefight (i.e. the question of mens res). Instead, several NGOs parroted claims from unreliable “eyewitnesses” and unidentified sources.

The rush to accuse Israel, absent facts and evidence, is entirely divorced from standards of fact-finding and human rights reporting.  Against the backdrop of the ongoing NGO “apartheid” and BDS campaigns and Palestinian calls for ICC intervention, these groups seek to portray Israel as criminal, and will utilize any opportunity and tragedy – to do so.

Palestinian NGOs


  • On May 11, Al-Dameer posted on Facebook that “the intentional killing of journalist Abu Aqla is a war crime…because journalists, their equipment and their companions are protected under the requirements of protecting civilians…The deliberate murder to obscure the truth and the attempt to hide the traces of the crime that comes in the context of the Israeli occupation forces’ continuation of war crimes against Palestinian civilians without discrimination is a clear violation of the principles of international humanitarian law and human rights.”


  • On May 12, Al-Haq issued a press release calling on “the international community to take immediate measures to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people and end its long-enjoyed impunity” and “urge[d] the ICC Office of the Prosecutor to expedite the investigation into the Situation in the State of Palestine, and include the killing of Shireen Abu Aqleh in the investigation, as well as take concrete measures to identify perpetrators and issue arrest warrants against those responsible.”

Al Mezan

  • On May 11, Al Mezan published a press release stating that “Shireen Abu Akleh’s apparent extrajudicial killing is further evidence of a trend by Israeli forces and authorities to systematically attack journalists and media personnel working to expose the violations of international law that make up Israel’s colonial dispossession and prolonged military occupation of Palestine. Al Mezan’s two dozen years of monitoring and reporting from the ground indicate that a slew of war crimes and crimes against humanit have apparently been committed by Israeli authorities, including the seriously grave crime of apartheid.”


Palestinian Center for Human Rights

  • On May 11, PCHR published a press release titled “IOF Continue to Kill Journalists in Cold Blood.” According to PCHR, “The attack on Shireen Abu ‘Akleh and her colleague Samoudi despite both of them wearing a helmet and vest with clear “PRESS” insignia, and the deliberate shooting by Israeli snipers on the unprotected area of her head, right below the ear, prove beyond doubt that Israeli soldiers have orders or at least a permission to inflict casualties and deter journalists from covering the Israeli crimes. A matter of fact that has occurred and been documented on several occasions.”

Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)

  • On May 11, PNGO issued a statement claiming that “PNGO views the assassination of Palestinian journalist Abu Aqlah as an expression of the occupation’s continued crimes against Palestinian civilians. PNGO calls on the international community to hold the Israeli government and its occupying armed forces accountable for this horrific crime. We demand the international community to amplify its voice and fulfill its duty toward the crimes being committed by the occupying power, including the continued detention of 15 journalists in Israeli prisons, infringing all international laws and the most basic human rights standards.”

Israeli NGOs


  • On May 11, Adalah posted on Facebook, “The murderous policy of the Israeli army in the OPT, which was clearly reflected in Shireen’s work, is ultimately what led to her killing, and is now receiving full backing from the entire Israeli political and military system headed by the Israeli Prime Minister.”


  • On May 14, B’Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad tweeted “Israel will not hold itself to account, just like its #apartheid regime won’t dismantle itself. International stakeholders who do not call this out simply cast themselves as a cog in Israel’s whitewashing machine. | @btselem.”
  • On May 13, B’Tselem tweeted “B’Tselem mourns the killing of renowned Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and sends its condolences to her family and the millions who mourn her loss. Horrifically, Israel’s apartheid regime was bent on demonstrating.”
  • On May 13, B’Tselem tweeted “even in the days since her killing in Jenin, its principle of Jewish supremacy: from the police invasion to her grieving family’s home demanding to take down Palestinian flags – till today’s sickening violence against participants in her funeral.”
  • On May 11, El-Ad tweeted “First Israeli PM @naftalibennett FM @yairlapid DM @gantzbe and @IDFSpokesperson tried lying with regards to the killing of @AlJazeera journalist #ShireenAbuAkleh. Now they promise to “investigate”. Which is nothing but the next step in Israel’s organized whitewash.”
  • On May 11, B’Tselem published a video of the “exact location” where Abu Akleh was killed, purporting that “Documentation of Palestinian gunfire distributed by Israeli military cannot be the gunfire that killed Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.”

Breaking the Silence

  • On May 11, Breaking the Silence tweeted, “An innocent woman lost her life this morning, while reporting on an IDF operation that took place as part of our decades-long military regime in the oPt. Another victim of the occupation which successive Israeli govts have done everything they can to justify. Time for it to end.”

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

  • On May 11, PCATI posted on Facebook that “The killing of journalist Shirin Abu Aqla tonight in the refugee camp in Jenin is a grave and intolerable crossing of human rights and the laws of war, ensuring the protection and safety of journalists in conflict zones – and it is protected under the clear and explicit definition of a war crime…The international community must act immediately to establish an independent testing mechanism, to examine the source of the shooting and bring those responsible to justice.”

Yesh Din

  • On May 11, Yesh Din posted on Facebook, “The security system has proven time and again that it is unable to investigate itself and therefore there is a law calling for the opening of an international investigation and to bring to justice the murderers of the Al-Jazeera journalist, Shirin Abu Aqla.”


  • On May 11, Zochrot tweeted, “The killing of renowned journalist @ShireenNasri by a sniper is a reminder that any Palestinian working to expose the truth is targeted. If you’re a Palestinian nothing will get you away or protect you from #IsraeliCrimes not even your press helmet. #ShireenAbuAkleh.”



American Muslims for Palestine

  • On May 11, AMP tweeted “Legendary Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was brutally assassinated by Israeli Forces.” AMP further tweeted “This crime just affirms what Israel really is. The time to hold Israel accountable is now!”
  • On May 11, AMP Executive Director published an article calling for the “Biden administration must condemn Israel’s murder of a U.S. citizen and well-renowned journalist, ensuring that Israel pays the price for the brutal assassination of a fellow American, and courageous human being.”


  • On May 12, CODEPINK launched a petition titled “Justice for Shireen” calling for the “immediate suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel and a thorough and impartial investigation of Shireen’s murder.”
  • On May 11, CODEPINK Co-Director Ariel Gold tweeted “The Israeli military killed 51-yr-old Aljazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh today as she was covering a raid in the W. Bank Jenin refugee camp. She was shot in the face despite wearing a press vest. May her memory be a blessing & may Israel be prosecuted for this horrific crime.”

Jewish Voice for Peace

  • On May 11, JVP Political Director Beth Miller tweeted “Israel is the only country in the world where the US doesn’t track which weapons go to which military unit. Why? For moments like this, when people demand to know if US weapons were used to shoot & kill a Palestinian American journalist. Makes it easier for Congress to just…🤷‍♀️”
  • On May 11, JVP tweeted “A journalist murdered in cold blood by the Israeli military and the NY Times can’t even muster the integrity to report the story truthfully. She was targeted. By snipers.”
  • JVP launched a petition titled “New York Times: Tell the truth” stating that “NYT used passive voice and failed to name Israel as the party responsible for killing Shireen. Their story also highlighted Israeli spokespeople early on without question, and buried statements from eyewitnesses and human rights group B’Tselem.”

Palestine Legal

  • On May 12, Palestine Legal tweeted “As our communities around the world mourn the murder of Palestinian journalist Shereen Abu Akleh by the Israeli military, tell the @nytimes to stop dishonoring Shereen and cover the story of her killing accurately.”


  • On May 10, Samidoun published a press release stating that Shireen Abu Aqleh “joins a long line of Palestinian martyrs whose lives have been taken by a colonial force attempting its futile effort to defeat the Palestinian people. Her legacy, like that of all of the martyrs of Palestine, must inspire all to organize, struggle and resist for the liberation of Palestine, its prisoners and its people, and to turn our eyes to Jenin, a daily site of assassinations, extrajudicial killings, armed raids, home demolitions and relentless occupation assaults — and a daily site of an undaunted and undefeated resistance that continues to struggle for justice and freedom, to defend the land and people from colonial aggression.”

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

  • On May 11, USCPR tweeted “The Israeli regime’s systematic targeting of journalists is part of its larger, ongoing repression to stop any exposure and documentation of its war crimes against the Palestinian people.”

European NGOs

European Legal Support Center

  • On May 11, ELSC tweeted “We are deeply concerned about the assassination of Palestinian journalist from Al Jazeera Shereen Abu Aqlah, who was fully dedicated to exposing the reality of the Israeli regime, and express solidarity to our Palestinian partners.”

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

  • On May 11, LPHR tweeted “Solely relying on Israel’s military investigation system to carry out effective military investigations amounts in practice to promoting effective impunity, and the associated greater likelihood of recurrent violations.”

Palestinian Return Centre

  • On May 10, PRC issued a statement condemning “Israel’s Extrajudicial Killing of Al-Jazeera Palestine Correspondent.” According to PRC, “This heinous crime was committed in cold blood against a journalist wearing a press-marked uniform, in a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and international conventions and norms…PRC calls on the United Nations and its concerned bodies along with all other international actors to launch a fact-finding probe into the murder, hold Israel to account, and pressurize Israel to cease its ruthless crimes against journalists and human rights activists documenting the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Rights Forum

  • On May 11, the Rights Forum published an article claiming that “Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead this morning during an Israeli raid on the refugee camp near the Palestinian city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Eyewitnesses say her death was the result of deliberate Israeli action.”

War on Want

  • On May 11, War on Want tweeted “Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh was shot and killed by Israeli forces, whilst covering Israeli raids in Jenin. Israel systematically targets Palestinian journalists. It’s time to end the impunity and for the UK government to stop arming Israel.”

International NGOs

Amnesty International

  • On May 11, Amnesty International Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Saleh Higazi stated “The killing of veteran journalist Shirin Abu Akleh is a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which Israel locks Palestinians. Israel is killing Palestinians left and right with impunity. How many more need to be killed before the international community acts to hold Israel accountable for the continuing crimes against humanity?”
  • On May 11, Amnesty tweeted “Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the head while covering an Israeli raid on a Palestinian refugee camp. The ICC Prosecutor should investigate her death as a possible war crime.”

Human Rights Watch

  • On May 13, Omar Shakir tweeted “Shireen AbuAqla’s life work was telling the stories of Palestinians living under Israel’s apartheid. Her killing highlights its underlying structural violence. Her funeral underscores its fragility. When apartheid’s dismantled, it’ll bear her fingerprints.”
  • On May 12, Omar Shakir tweeted “The killing of Shireen AbuAqla isn’t a matter of a few bad apples. Millions of Palestinians live a reality of apartheid & grave underlying structural violence. My comments in @voxdotcom.”
    • On May 11, Shakir also tweeted “Gut-wrenching to hear of killing of Shireen AbuAqla—gunned down while reporting on frontlines on Israeli incursion in Jenin. Her life’s work was telling stories of Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid. Rest in power Shireen. All the solidarity to her loved ones &colleagues.”
  • On May 11, HRW tweeted “The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is a devastating loss. Shireen’s life’s work was telling stories of Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid. Rest in power Shireen.”
  • On May 11, Ken Roth tweeted “It’s hard to have any confidence in the Israeli investigation of this shooting given the Israeli government’s long record of whitewashing its abuses, as @BTselem has repeatedly shown.”