An article in the Independent by their international correspondent Borzou Daragahi (“Made in America, fired in the West Bank: The bullet that killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh”, June 18) avoids even the pretense of objectivity in reporting on claims by the Qatari government mouthpiece Al Jazeera:
Al Jazeera is airing an image of what it describes as the American-made bullet that killed its longtime Palestinian reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank last month.
The pan-Arab broadcaster said the bullet was a 5.56mm round shot by an M4 rifle often used by Israeli armed forces. The bullet was “designed and manufactured” in the United States, Al Jazeera reported.
It cited a former Jordanian major general, Fayez al-Dwairi, as claiming it was the type of munition “used by the Israeli army”.
However, the Indy journalist curiously omits the fact that, as Associated Press reported in a story about the same Al Jazeera story, “the Israeli military says Palestinian militants use the same ammunition”.
Further, here’s a tweet by Middle East research analyst Joe Truzman showing the ubiquity of the 5.56mm round:
It's important to note the picture doesn't mean much without examining the bullet. For instance, in late May the IDF stopped an attempt to smuggle the same type of ammo into the West Bank. Point being, it's likely both Israeli & Palestinians have access to this type of bullet. https://t.co/0Xc8DJSfBm pic.twitter.com/nzBzjgIq77
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) June 16, 2022
The Indy article continues:
Israel forces have denied the accusation [that soldiers shot Abu Akleh], offering up several conflicting narratives in what critics describe as an attempt to deflect blame.
This isn’t true.
The IDF has repeatedly called on the Palestinians to share access to the bullet with which the Palestinian journalist, and has insisted that whilst Abu Akleh was not intentionally shot by the IDF, it is not possible, without access to the bullet, to determine whether she was killed by a Palestinian gunman shooting indiscriminately or inadvertently by an IDF soldier.
Finally, speaking of conflicting narratives, the current claim of the M4 being the weapon used in Abu Akleh’s death comes in contradiction to earlier reports by the Palestinian Authority, which, as the Jerusalem Post and others noted, asserted that the Ruger Mini-14 was the killing firearm. The initial Palestinian reports also claimed that an IDF “sniper” killed Abu Akleh. However, the 5.56 rounds, per the Al Jazeera report, are not used by IDF snipers, and M4s are not sniper weapon platforms.
So, which explanation is the PA now embracing? Their original one or the new theory based on Al Jazeera’s photo?
The fact that the Indy’s Daragahi didn’t explore this glaring contradiction is consistent with British media coverage of Abu Akleh’s killing to date, in which, by and large, only those details in the case which support the pre-determined conclusion of Israeli guilt are considered newsworthy.