23 June 2022

Can’t Pay, Won’t Bloody Pay! – Heating & Eating are a Right Not a Privilege

 Noone Should be Forced to Choose Between Warmth and Food and No one Should Die Because They Can’t Afford It

Registration Link

https://tinyurl.com/3hvbhjm9

Ian Hodson - President Bakers' Union

The Socialist Labour Network is launching a national Can’t Pay Won’t Pay campaign with a public meeting this Friday at 6.30 p.m. Speakers include Tommy Sheridan, the former Scottish Socialist MSP, Paula Peters of Disabled People Against the Cuts and Ian Hodson, the President of the Bakers Union, who was expelled from the Labour Party by Starmer last year.

30 years ago a mass non-payment campaign defeated Thatcher’s Poll Tax and forced Thatcher out of office. Why? Because people could not afford to pay the tax and furthermore they refused to pay a tax that was the same for a Duke and a Dustman.

Tommy Sheridan led the Poll Tax Campaign

Today people can’t afford their energy bills. Even before the next massive rise in prices in October one-third of people are unable to afford to heat their homes. By the end of the year this is going to rise to over half the population.

Even before the current price rises 1 in 4 people were forced to live in cold conditions. What this means quite simply is that thousands more people, the sick and elderly, will die for the sake of the massive profits that the energy producers make. Thousands are already dying each year because they can’t afford to heat their homes.

According to The Telegraph energy bills are set to pass £3,000 per annum by next January. In October 2021 they stood at £1,278. Last April prices rose by 54% to £1,971 per year. In October the price cap on annual bills will go up to £2,980. In other words a rise of 133% in 1 year.

Yet the railworkers are being savaged by the Government and the Tory Press for demanding 7% wage increases. The nurses who the Tories were happy to clap for are being offered just 3%. The unemployed and claimants have had their benefits increased by just 3%.

Rishi Sunak’s Windfall Tax (which was more generous than Starmer’s proposals) is just sticking plaster. Most people will get a £400 rebate in October and that will be it. Claimants will get £650 in two stages and disabled claimants an extra £150 or £300 if they are pensioners. Pensioners will also receive an additional £300 on top of the existing winter fuel payment. For details see here.

The strange thing is that gas prices are falling yet prices are rising. Why?  Because of the nature of our privatised energy market which is divided into those who generate the energy, those who transmit it and those who sell it.

Massive profits are being made by the energy sector at the same time as prices are going sky high. That is why the French company EDF can increase prices by just 4% in France because Macron has forced them to cut their profits. Boris Johnson of course is in hock to his friends in the City.

This waste of space has nothing to say but opposes the rail strike

Privatisation in the 1980s meant giving away assets built up by the tax payer over succeeding generations to the City for a pittance. Billions have been made at the consumers’ expense and with the latest price rises billions more will be made.

Of course the price rise has been made far worse by the war in Ukraine which NATO provoked with its insistence on expanding up to the borders of Russia, despite repeated promises at the time of German unification, by US Secretary of State James Baker, Helmut Kohl and John Major, that NATO wouldn’t expand.

In March 1991 John Major, for instance, was asked by the Soviet defence minister, Marshal Dmitry Yazov, about eastern Europe’s interest in joining Nato. Major, according to the diaries of the British ambassador to Moscow, Rodric Braithwaite, assured him “nothing of that sort will ever happen”.

Ironically Russia has also benefitted from the sanctions that have been imposed because of the increase in prices. It has been impossible for Europe to cut its dependence on gas and this has led the ruble to hit an all-time high, contrary to predictions in February that their economy would tank. According to CBS News the ruble is the strongest currency in the world this year!

The sanctions which have been imposed only benefit the United States energy market whose extraction of shale oil is far more expensive than Russia’s gas and oil. The other beneficiary is US arms manufacturers such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin who have seen massive increases in profits as Jo Biden has handed them $40 billion in arms orders on top of previous orders.

Of course the United States can’t afford to fund a National Health Service or waive student debt but there is always money to fight NATO wars, be it in Ukraine or Afghanistan. Similarly in Britain. There isn’t enough money for things like free school meals but every time Johnson visits Zelensky in Ukraine, usually when things become too hot for him at home, he comes with promises of hundreds of millions of pounds of arms supplies. That is capitalism and the system we live under.

Our demands are simple.

Ø   Freeze energy prices at what they were before April 2022.

Ø   Nationalise the energy companies without compensation.

Ø   Abolish pre-payment meters. One of the more outrageous feature of the present crisis is that those on pre-payment meters, the poorest people in society, are paying the highest prices.

Tony Greenstein

20 June 2022

Helen Aksentijevic interviews veteran anti-Zionist Moshe Machover, one of the founders of Matzpen, the Socialist Organisation in Israel

 Machover looks back on life since his childhood under the Palestine Mandate and describes both his own family and political background


There are not many people who can justly be described as legends in their own lifetime but Moshe Machover is one such person. An indefatigable optimist he was the ‘one who got away’. Targeted by the Zionists and expelled summarily by the Labour Party’s discredited Sam Mathews, there was such a groundswell of opposition both within and without the Labour Party, that Moshe was reinstated within a month after Corbyn’s office had been forced to intervene with the Compliance Unit.

Unlike the cowards of the Socialist Campaign Group, Dianne Abbot et al, Moshe was proud to appear in Zoom meetings alongside expelled members like myself and Chris Williamson, the only MP who did not subscribe to the false 'antisemitism' narrative

Moshe has subsequently been suspended by Starmer as part of his purge of anti-Zionist Jews (its official name, as befitting such doublethink,  is ‘rooting out anti-Semitism’).

Helen Aksentijevic is a filmmaker who decided to make a series of films about supporters of Palestine including Moshe. See Enlightenment and Pure Joy. Helen can best be described as a travelling protest photographer.

The first pamphlet that I read, at the age of 18 when I was coming out as an anti-Zionist, was by Moshe Machover and two fellow members of Matzpen, Akiva Orr and Haim Hanegbi. Up to then my opposition to Zionism was largely instinctive rather than theoretically worked out. This was a time when the very word ‘Palestinian’ was disputed. I had been brought up to consider Palestinians as just ‘Arabs’. It is as if Romanians or Swiss nationals were referred to as Europeans. Golda Meir, the Israeli Prime Minister famously declared that there was no such thing as the Palestinians.

Moshe as a child

‘The Class Nature of Israeli society’ was published by New Left Review in January/February 1971 although I read it in a pamphlet published by the International Socialists (SWP). It helped me to clarify my intuitive feelings about Zionism, that it was an exclusivist and chauvinist project that rejected the basic ideas of Socialism. The pamphlet helped me to jettison many of the ideas that I had grown up with in a Zionist environment.

A Young Moshe Machover & Jabra Nicola

Matzpen (Compass), which Moshe helped form in 1962, was the first Israeli anti-Zionist organisation. In the film Moshe describes briefly the origins of the organisation and the influence of the Palestinian Marxist Jabra Nicola over him and others. Nicola saw the solution to the dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians as being a regional one involving workers and peasants struggle in the Arab East to overthrow the corrupt and repressive regimes which dot the landscape.

The Israeli Communist Party, from which Matzpen broke, never rejected Zionism. Indeed it has never had any analysis of Zionism worthy of the name. It sees Zionism as largely irrelevant and doesn’t see the Israeli working class as a settler working class.

The Irgun, a terrorist militia which perpetrated the massacre at Deir Yassin in April 1948 before the declaration of independence

By way of contrast Matzpen developed an understanding of Zionism and Israel as a settler-colonial ideology and movement or what Moshe describes, using Kautsky’s terminology a ‘work’ or ‘exclusion’ colony as opposed to an ‘exploitation colony’.

In my view these categories are too rigid, as some colonies like South Africa could be both exploitation and exclusion colonies. Hence South Africa’s Bantustan policy.

Jabra Nicola

Rakah, the Israeli Communist  Party believed and still believes that the Israeli state can be reformed and that Israeli Palestinians can achieve equality within it. They never understood that it was Zionism which ensured that Israel could never become a state of its own citizens. Rakah was a Stalinist party that went along in 1948 with Stalin’s support for the establishment of a ‘Jewish’ state, a policy which all but destroyed the Arab Communist Parties in the region.

The idealised image of the Kibbutzim and Jewish Labour - what wasn't shown were the evictions of Arab peasants with the help of the British army to make way for the Kibbutzim

Today the Palestine solidarity movement and academia takes it for granted that Israel is a settler colonial state, but for many years people saw Israel as either a liberal democracy or a social democratic, if not socialist society, with the Kibbutzim as their idea of socialism in practice. The idea 60 years ago that Israel was a settler colonial state was ground breaking.

I freely confess that Moshe has been an enormous influence over my own political development although, as often happens with one’s mentors, we disagree on certain issues. I don’t for example accept Moshe’s belief that the Israeli or Hebrew people constitute a nation in their own right with a right to self-determination as a Hebrew state in the future. In my view such a state would inevitably contain within it forces seeking to reconstitute themselves as a Zionist and Jewish Supremacist state with all that entails. Hebrew culture in Israel is inevitably a culture of oppression.

Zionist 'socialism' was a strictly Jewish only affair and thus it negated the basic principle of socialism, the unity of the working class whatever its ethnic or religious origins. Today that has played out in the presence in a far-right coalition of the Israeli Labor Party and Meretz

Unlike Moshe I also believe that the idea or concept of a unitary democratic secular state is one that the Palestine solidarity movement should adopt. Why? Firstly because it negates the concept of a Jewish State, which the two state solution does nothing to challenge. But also because a solidarity movement that is unable to present a vision of what it is striving for will in the end succumb to partial solutions such as a repartition. How such a goal will be achieved is a separate question.

I also have less faith in the future potential of the Israeli working class than Moshe because experience has shown that in settler colonial states, be it South Africa or Ireland, the settler working class is to the right of its own bourgeoisie. Their support for an ethno-supremacist state means that they are incapable of acting as a class for itself.

The ethnic cleansing of Jaffa - the only people driven into the sea were the Palestinians

I see no progressive or socialist potential in the Israeli Jewish working class because its identity wrapped up in the super oppression of the Palestinian working class.

Today the idea of Israel as an Apartheid State has become widely accepted. This idea, that Israel is a state in which racial oppression is not a side effect or by-product of its other policies but inbuilt into the state itself, has gradually taken hold. Ideologically Israel and its defenders are in a weaker position now than they have ever been.

The flight of the Palestinians was necessary to create an artificial Jewish majority in Israel

This development has taken place at the same time as Israel is militarily and economically stronger than it has ever been although still dependant on its benefactor, the United States.

Where I agree with Moshe is that the Question of Zionism or Palestine cannot be solved within the borders of Palestine. The great mistake of the Palestinian leadership, the PLO, was to believe that they could become yet another corrupt Arab leadership in a Palestinian state of their own side by side with the Israeli state. The PLO leaders desired nothing more than the right to oppress their own people, as the Palestinian Authority today demonstrates.

Tel Aviv, a Jewish only city in its early days in British Palestine

It was this that led to the disaster that is the 1993 Oslo Accords. At the time those of us who opposed Oslo were very much in a minority. Fateh activists were enthusiastic about its prospects and their prospects. This enthusiasm derived from the belief that Zionism could be confined within pre-1948 borders and could live alongside a Palestinian state. Unfortunately the Palestinian leadership never understood the nature of Zionism and how it is an inherently expansionist and colonisatory project. Or if they did understand it rhetorically they never incorporated it in their theory and practice. Today it is very clear that the Israeli state cannot be reformed and Zionism cannot change its spots.

An artist's view of Tel Aviv

The other mistake of the PLO was, in exchange for subsidies to finance their operations, to establish uncritical relationships with the very Arab regimes which oppressed their own people. These regimes paid lip service to the Palestinian cause whilst in practice abandoning them. Today we can see this clearly with the Abraham Accords, which follow on from the 1978 Camp David Accords whereby Egypt recognised Israel. Following Oslo, Jordan also established diplomatic relations with Israel.

The Arab regimes fear, despise and oppress their own peoples. They are the junior allies of imperialism. Regimes such as that in Saudi Arabia and Egypt are some of the most brutal on the planet. They are jealously guarded by the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv yet the Palestinian movement has largely been uncritical of these regimes. The role of Israel is to ensure that radical Arab nationalism never triumphs in the region.

Where I disagree with Moshe is that I don’t accept that it is necessary for a socialist revolution to take hold in the Arab world before Zionism can be overthrown. If only because the establishment of socialism has proved rather more difficult than Marx and the early socialists envisaged. I think it is possible for nationalist revolutions to overthrow the ancien regimes in the Arab world and in that way to threaten the very imperialist interests that Israel is paid to watch over.

The original advert  in Ha'aretz

Moshe has lived through the entire period of the Israeli state. He recalls how, in September 1967, Matzpen was the first group to place an advert in Ha’aretz decrying the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank which an Israeli Labor not Likud Government, presided over. Moshe also recalls the hostility and calls of ‘traitor’ that greeted this advert. The advert met with unbridled hostility and threats to the individual signatories.

Moshe tells how, at the age of 3, his first definite memory was the day that World War 2 broke out. He describes the bombing of Tel Aviv by the Italian airforce and says that by 1944 it was clear that something horrendous had taken place in Europe in respect of the Jews.

This is in itself instructive because the Zionist leadership in Palestine were well aware that the Holocaust was taking place from at least mid-1942 if not earlier but they did their best to play such reports down. The Hebrew press even whilst it reported on what was happening in Europe also cast doubt on its own reports. Zionism, which has fashioned the Holocaust into an ideological weapon, was at that time more concerned with state building than rescuing Jewish refugees.

Moshe emigrated to Britain in 1968. Many others in Matzpen also emigrated to the West because life was made very difficult for those who were seen as traitors to Zionism. Moshe became a Professor of Mathematical Logic and Philosophy at King’s College in London. Far from being a democratic society Israel has always been extremely intolerant of Jews who dissent from the Zionist narrative.

Moshe describes in some detail how, in the wake of the Nakba between 1947 and 1949, he and other children would hike into the Galilee and see the ruins of the Arab villages. They saw the artifacts and belongings left after the Zionist militias had looted much of what remained when the original owners had been forced to flee from Palestine. The Zionist myth that people like Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotoveli still propagate is that the Palestinians voluntarily left.

It was the Israeli Labor Party that presided over the 6 Day War and the conquest of the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and Golan Heights. I remember very well how Israeli propaganda portrayed the situation as a possible new holocaust. We really believed that Israel might well suffer defeat and that the Jews would be driven into the sea. Of course this was a lie meant to fool not only Israeli Jews but the wider Jewish communities world-wide. We now know that this was, as Moshe says, ‘poppycock’.

The ILP was also responsible for the establishment of the first settlements. It was an Israeli Labor Government which launched a pre-emptive war on Syria, Jordan and Egypt with the intention of completing what was they considered unfinished business in 1947-9, namely the conquest of the whole of what was Palestine under the British Mandate. In 1956 Israel had launched the Suez War, in conjunction with Britain and France, against Egypt following Nasser’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal. At that time Israel had been forced to withdraw after the US Administration of Eisenhower had made its displeasure clear.

The remains of the Arab villages after they had been looted and their inhabitants expelled or massacred

Moshe explains how one of the cardinal beliefs of the Zionists is that Jews don’t merely constitute a religious community but a nation in its own right. That is integral to the Zionist claim on what they call Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel). The basis of this claim is that God gave the land to the Jews. Given that the early Zionists were atheists, we have the absurdity that Zionism based its claim to Palestine on the promise of a god who doesn’t exist!

I hope you find this interview as illuminating and interesting as I did.

Tony Greenstein

14 June 2022

Israel’s Lies and Deceptions over the Assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh are not Fooling Anyone

First CNN and then the Washington Post have conducted investigations which contradict Israel’s ‘explanation’ that she was killed by a Palestinian gunman

Israel has conducted extra-judicial executions throughout the Occupation of Palestine and it has never hesitated to murder its political opponents, be they in Palestine or, as in the case of Ghassan Kanfani, in exile.

Palestinian revolutionary and novelist Ghassan Kanafani was assassinated by Mossad 50 years ago, when he was killed in a car bomb explosion along with his teenage niece in Beirut. Mossad later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Kanafani was a novelist who first deployed the notion of “resistance literature” in the context of Palestine. He was also a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Shireen’s reporting was a thorn in Israel’s side as are all journalists who convey what is happening in Occupied Palestine. Being Palestinian was an extra reason for her murder.

Forty-five journalists, the Palestinian Journalist Union claim 55, have been murdered by Israel since 2000. That is the context for Shireen’s killing.

What is remarkable is that despite the best efforts of the Biden Administration, Israel has not been able to get away with murdering yet another journalist.

For one thing Shireen was a US citizen. Another reason is that people today are far more aware of Israel’s military occupation and the repression than they were 50 years ago.

Fifty-seven Democrat members of the US House of Representative have called for an FBI and State Department Inquiry. In addition two US senators, Mitt Romney and Jon Ossoff have also added their voice to calls for an inquiry. Romney is a former Republican Party Presidential candidate.

Shireen Abu-Akleh

Equally unprecedented is that two major US news outlets, CNN and now the Washington Post have investigated the killing of Shireen and found Israel’s explanation to be wanting. CNN titled its coverage

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

Anyone who reads both articles cannot but conclude from the evidence that Shireen’s death was deliberate.

The Washington Post’s investigation concludes that an  analysis of available visuals, audio and witness statements shows an Israeli soldier likely fired the fatal shot’. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the killing was not random or accidental.

There are a number of reasons why the Israeli version of events cannot be believed (apart from the fact that the IDF routinely lie until video evidence contradicts their version of events).

Israel’s military has not released any evidence showing the presence of the mythical gunman who Israel suggests killed Shireen. The first video put out by Israel’s Foreign Ministry was recorded sometime before 6:41 a.m., the earliest instance that the Washington Post found it had been shared on social media. A Palestinian fighter fires two shots down a stairwell, before turning to move down the street.  As they observe:

Open-source investigators, including B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, were quick to identify the location where this video was recorded, noting the geography alone — including high walls and no sightline to Abu Akleh’s position — makes it impossible that these shots are the same as those that struck the journalist.

The IDF has refused to give details of any Israeli footage of the incident be it from drones or from body cameras.

The IDF did not say how it arrived at the conclusion that its soldiers did not know journalists were present, or that they were not deliberately targeted when they were wearing large visible signs saying ‘Press’.

Despite this the IDF said it wasn’t investigating because “there is no suspicion of a criminal act.” Which in one sense is true.  Killing Palestinian civilians is not a criminal offence for Israeli soldiers. 

Omar Abdalmajeed As'ad murdered by Israel in January

In January the Israeli military killed an 80 year old Palestinian/ American citizen Omar Abdalmajeed As'ad of JiljilyaIn this case there was no dispute as to who was responsible. As Ha’aretz reportedIsraeli Soldiers Bound, Gagged 80-year-old Palestinian for Over an Hour Before He Died’.

In the case of Omar a military investigation found a grave "moral lapse" by the soldiers involved in the incident.

So grave were their moral lapses that one commander was rebuked, and two subordinate commanders were dismissed. Now imagine that Palestinians had killed an Israeli in the same way. Their family house would have been demolished and they, if they survived, would be sentenced to 30+ years in prison.

This in a nutshell demonstrates not only Zionism’s racism but the callous disregard for Palestinian life. But as the Jerusalem Post said, As’ad’s death is horrible. Sadly, it reflects a tragic reality where surprise checkpoints are a harsh and bitter necessity.  ‘A harsh and bitter necessity’ if ‘terrorism’ for which read Palestinian resistance to occupation, it to be minimised.

As Gideon Levy remarked: ‘

In their defense, the abusers claimed that they didn’t notice the signs of distress of the man they had turned into a sack of potatoes, threw to the ground and left there for over an hour, choked and cuffed. But what signs of distress can a bound man whose mouth is sealed shut and whose eyes are covered show? For his ears to shake? 

In Omar’s case too Biden and his mouthpiece Anthony Blinken were content to leave things to Israel.  Israel after all is America’s strategic watchdog in the Middle East. The fact that they killed American citizens was secondary.

One wonders whether, if the Russian military had murdered an American journalist whether Blinken and Biden would be content to leave the investigation to Russia?

Tony Greenstein

A memorial now sits at the location where veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed. (Osama Hasan/The Washington Post)

How Shireen Abu Akleh was killed

A Washington Post analysis of available visuals, audio and witness statements shows an Israeli soldier likely fired the fatal shot

By Sarah Cahlan, Meg Kelly and Steve Hendrix

 We are now at the doors of the Jenin refugee camp,” Ali al-Samoudi, an Al Jazeera news channel producer, said as he began a live stream on Facebook early on May 11, during an Israeli military operation in the camp. Sounds of gunshots rang out in the distance. “Heavy clashes,” could be heard, Samoudi said in the video, which was recorded shortly after 6 a.m.

Less than 30 minutes later, the scene was quiet enough that Samoudi, along with three other journalists, felt safe inching toward a column of Israeli military vehicles that was involved in one of the early morning raids. Among the group was Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran correspondent for Al Jazeera who had covered countless similar operations in a career spanning decades, colleagues said.

The journalists wore helmets and protective vests labeled “PRESS” in large white letters. They paused for about five minutes in a location where they thought the Israeli convoy could identify them clearly as members of the press, Samoudi later said in an interview with The Washington Post.

“We were very sure there were no armed Palestinians, and no exchange of fire or clashes with the Israelis,” said Samoudi. Then, the journalists headed up the street, toward the Israeli convoy. “It was totally calm, there was no gunfire at all.” Suddenly, there was a barrage of bullets. One struck Samoudi. Another hit and ultimately killed Abu Akleh, as their colleagues scrambled for cover.

The shots seemed to come from the military vehicles, Samoudi recalled.

The Washington Post examined more than five dozen videos, social media posts and photos of the event, conducted two physical inspections of the area and commissioned two independent acoustic analyses of the gunshots. That review suggests an Israeli soldier in the convoy likely shot and killed Abu Akleh. The Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, has said it is possible one of its soldiers fired the fatal shot, but claimed any gunfire was directed toward a Palestinian gunman who was standing between the Israeli soldiers and the journalists, and that the reporters might have been shot unintentionally.

Israel’s military has not released any evidence showing the presence of a gunman. The available video and audio evidence disputes IDF claims there was an exchange of fire in the minutes before Abu Akleh was killed and supports the accounts of multiple eyewitnesses interviewed by The Post, who said there was no firefight at the time.

The audio analyses of the gunfire that likely killed Abu Akleh point to one person shooting from an estimated distance that nearly matches the span between the journalists and the IDF convoy. Based on video The Post filmed in Jenin, Abu Akleh and other journalists identified as press would likely have been visible from the IDF convoy’s position, which was roughly 182 meters (597 feet) away. At least one soldier in the convoy was using a telescopic scope, the IDF said later in a news release. A live stream on TikTok filmed seven minutes before the shooting shows a relatively calm scene with people milling about. Distant single gunshots are heard on occasion but there are no signs of a firefight.

Video filmed by The Post from the vantage point of where the Israeli convoy stood shows the IDF had a largely unobstructed view of Shireen Abu-Akleh on May 11. (Osama Hasan/The Washington Post)

The IDF, in written responses to questions and a summary of The Post’s findings, said it

“will continue to responsibly investigate the incident, in order to get to the truth of this tragic event. The bullet is vital to reaching a conclusion as to the source of the fire that killed Ms. Abu Akleh, and it is an important source for reaching an evidence-based conclusion. The Palestinians continue to refuse the IDF’s offer to conduct a joint forensic examination of the bullet, with American representation.”

The statement, quoting Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, the IDF chief of the general staff, repeated Israel’s previous contention that it was investigating whether the bullet was fired by the IDF or a Palestinian gunman.

“There is one thing that can be determined with certainty: no IDF soldier deliberately fired at a journalist. We investigated this. That is the conclusion and there is no other,” he said.

The IDF did not say how it arrived at the conclusion that its soldiers did not know journalists were present, or that they were not deliberately targeted. An IDF spokesman directed Post reporters toward statements made by an Israeli military official, Col. Arik Moel, in a television interview, in which he says there was a “better chance” Abu Akleh was killed by Palestinian fire than by “one of the five bullets” shot by an Israeli soldier who had been present that day. No evidence was provided for the assertion.

The IDF did not respond to a question about what, if anything, Israeli footage of the incident — from drones or body cameras — may show.

The shooting

Shortly after 6 a.m. Abu Akleh sent an email to the Al Jazeera assignment desk saying “occupation forces are breaking into Jenin’s camp and besieging a house in Jabriyat neighborhood,” referring to two operations being conducted by the IDF. She wrote that she would update the network on the situation once she reached the camp. By the time she arrived around 6:15 a.m., other journalists, including Shatha Hanaysheh and Samoudi, had gathered at a roundabout at the entrance of the camp.

“The main road was pseudo living a normal life, there were vehicles driving by with people going to work, there was normal foot traffic,” Hanaysheh recalled.

Saleem Awaad, a 27-year-old resident of Jenin, started a live stream on TikTok at roughly 6:24 a.m. In the video, which was obtained by The Post, someone tells Awaad that IDF forces are positioned just to the southwest. At the same time, the journalists can be seen standing around wearing helmets and protective vests labeled “PRESS.”

In a TikTok live stream a local man runs past a gaggle of journalists to film an Israeli Defense Forces convoy in the Jenin refugee camp on May 11. (Saleem Awaad)

“I’m going to film them [the Israeli soldiers],” Awaad is heard saying, as he rushes past the journalists.

As he approaches an intersection, three rounds of gunfire are heard in the distance. Roughly two minutes later, he points the camera south revealing Israeli military vehicles about 182 meters (597 feet) away, according to The Post’s analysis of the footage. “There’s the Israeli army,” he says. The vehicles are in the same location and formation as those seen in body-camera footage of the raid later released by the IDF.



https://youtu.be/EqTbv9R7BHI

(Israeli Defense Forces) – note that this official video has no sound.  Why would that be?

In a TikTok live stream, Israeli Defense Forces military vehicles are visible about 600 feet from where Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on May 11 in Jenin. (Saleem Awaad)

Over the next three minutes, the video records distant single gunshots from time to time, but the scene is relatively calm and the gaggle of people gathered at the corner seem relaxed, joking and milling about. At about 6:31 a.m., the journalists start to walk toward the military vehicles. “We decided to move through that street slowly to get closer toward the army to cover the news,” Samoudi later told The Post.

In the video, less than 30 seconds after the journalists walked toward the military, six gunshots erupt. People who were recording the scene scatter.

In a TikTok live stream recorded May 11, 2022, in Jenin, Shireen Abu Akleh and other journalists walk toward IDF military vehicles before gunfire erupts. (Saleem Awaad)

A different video obtained by The Post shows Samoudi moving hurriedly, but carefully, toward a silver car stopped at the intersection. Just as he reaches the road, a second burst of seven gunshots comes. The group again scrambles away from the corner. Someone calls out, “Who was hit?” Hanaysheh yells for an ambulance, because Abu Akleh had been shot, she told The Post.

Three more shots ring out. Then someone shouts, “Shireen! Medic, medic! Stay where you are, don’t move, don’t move.” The camera pans to show Hanaysheh crouched behind a tree near Abu Akleh, who is on the ground, facing down.

A group of men attempt to reach the two journalists by crossing the street for nearly a minute, as a fourth burst of at least nine gunshots erupts in rapid fire. One man, who is already across the street, climbs over a crushed wall to reach Abu Akleh and Hanaysheh. As the man grabs Abu Akleh’s arm, in what appears to be an attempt to move her, another shot goes off. He runs back against the wall and crouches down. He ushers Hanaysheh away from the scene, back over the crumbled wall before helping to carry Abu Akleh’s body from behind the tree into the back seat of a car.

The Post has decided to publish the 8-minute video recorded by Awaad it in its entirety below.


A TikTok live stream shows the minutes before Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera news channel correspondent, was killed in Jenin on May 11, 2022. (Saleem Awaad)

At The Post’s request, Steven Beck, an audio forensic expert who consulted for the FBI for more than a decade, conducted an analysis on the gunfire heard in the two separate videos. Beck found the first two bursts of gunfire, 13 shots in total, were shot from between 175-195 meters (574-640 feet) away from the cameras that recorded the scene — almost exactly the distance between the journalists and the Israeli military vehicles.

The sound wave produced by the gunshots for both bursts of gunfire was remarkably consistent, suggesting a single person “pulling the trigger of a rifle that fires supersonic bullets almost as fast as they can,” Beck said, referring to bullets moving faster than the speed of sound. There are two slight deviations from the pattern of fire, Beck explained, but the deviations — involving two rounds — are likely caused by someone re-aiming. Everything else about the audio signature of the shots is consistent, he added.

It is likely Abu Akleh was killed by one of these first two bursts of gunfire. Hanaysheh, who was next to Abu Akleh, can be heard calling for an ambulance immediately after the second burst of gunfire. She told The Post her call was for Abu Akleh. The audio analysis of the first two bursts also indicates that the bullets were fired in the direction of — and very close to — the journalists. The analysis could not, however, determine the exact point of origin of the shots.

Palestinian authorities, who are in possession of the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, said it was a 5.56x45mm round. Beck said he used a number of different weapons that fire that caliber of round in his analysis, but there is little significant difference between them in determining the distance between Abu Akleh and the shooters.

There are two subsequent bursts of gunfire after the one believed to have killed Abu Akleh, but their origin was harder to determine, experts said.

The bursts, of at least 12 shots in total, point to a shooter in a different location from the first two bursts, Beck said, estimating they may have been fired from roughly 10-30 meters (32-99 feet) away from the journalists. The shooter was firing in the general direction of the journalists, but could have been shooting at something else because the bullets pass further away from the group than the first two bursts.

 “The gunshot signatures, the echo signatures, and the timing of these bursts were very different from the burst that likely killed the journalist, indicating a firing location that was different and much closer,” Beck told The Post in an email. “Without knowledge of the type of round, a more accurate estimate of the shooter distance is not possible.”

A second analysis, conducted by a physics-based computer model built by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, similarly found the first two bursts of gunfire were fired 233 meters +/- 46 meters (765 feet +/- 150 feet) from the camera — roughly aligning with Beck’s analysis and the position of the Israeli military vehicles. The model did not determine if the first two bursts were fired by one or two shooters — only that the distance between the gunman and the camera stayed consistent. Similar to Beck, researchers also used a number of different weapons in their analysis that could have fired a 5.56x45mm or similar round.

The Carnegie Mellon researchers said the third and fourth bursts indicate a second shooter, but they could not determine this person’s distance from the journalists because of the videos’ poor audio quality.

The Investigation

An investigation by the Palestinian Authority concluded that Abu Akleh was hit by a bullet fired by an Israeli soldier. The Palestinian attorney general, Akram Al-Khateeb, said at a press briefing last month that she was shot “directly and deliberately,” a conclusion he said was based in part on the fact that Abu Akleh and Samoudi were shot in the upper part of their bodies, and gunfire, he said, continued after they were shot.

Khateeb said a decision had been made not to hand over the bullet to the Israelis — or even to disseminate an image of the round — “to deprive them of a new lie, a new narrative,” he said, adding that the Palestinians were capable of conducting a thorough investigation on their own.

The IDF says its investigation is ongoing, but said it had already concluded that there was no criminal conduct in Abu Akleh’s killing.

Shifting explanations from the IDF about the source of gunfire that killed Abu Akleh emerged from the beginning. IDF spokesperson Ran Kochav first acknowledged the incident in a tweet at 7:45 a.m., “The possibility that journalists were injured, possibly by Palestinian gunfire, is being investigated.” Later in the morning, he told Army Radio that it was “likely” that a Palestinian gunman was responsible. The Israeli Foreign Ministry tweeted an edited version of a video filmed hours earlier with the caption, “Palestinian terrorists, firing indiscriminately, are likely to have hit Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla.”

A video posted to Telegram early May 11 shows a gunman firing down a stairwell a couple of blocks southeast of where journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed. (Telegram)

The original video shared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry was recorded sometime before 6:41 a.m., the earliest instance The Post found the video shared on social media. A Palestinian fighter fires two shots down a stairwell, before turning to move down the street. Open-source investigators, including B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, were quick to identify the location where this video was recorded, noting the geography alone — including high walls and no sightline to Abu Akleh’s position — makes it impossible that these shots are the same as those that struck the journalist.

The Israeli government walked back its initial statement on the incident that Abu Akleh was “likely” killed by a Palestinian gunman. An Israeli government news release said they are investigating two possibilities. In one scenario, Abu Akleh was struck by a stray bullet while Palestinian gunmen shot at Israeli military vehicles from a number of different directions.

Available visuals The Post reviewed of armed Palestinian men in Jenin show they were not between Abu Akleh and the IDF, nor did they have a line of sight to the journalists at the time of the shooting. The timestamp on one photo, labeled No. 6, shows it was taken 14 minutes before Abu Akleh was shot and was recorded far away. Two videos showing Palestinian gunman, in the same area as No. 7, were captured more than 10 minutes after Abu Akleh was shot. The Post could not confirm the exact time of the video labeled No. 7. Gunshots heard in one video to the south of the convoy, labeled No. 5, do not match those heard when Abu Akleh is shot, indicating the video was most likely recorded at a different time, however, The Post could also not confirm the exact time.

A video posted to social media on May 11 shows a group of men, some armed, standing south of an IDF convoy in Jenin. (Twitter)

A Palestinian gunman sits atop an alleyway in the Jenin neighborhood of the West Bank on May 11, 2022.  

Another possibility presented by Israeli authorities suggests Abu Akleh was hit with a bullet from a soldier firing at a Palestinian gunman who was positioned somewhere in the approximately 200 meters (656 feet) between the journalist and the military vehicles. According to The Post’s analysis of available footage, the IDF convoy stretched roughly 182 meters to 243 meters (597 feet to 797 feet) away from the group of journalists including Abu Akleh. The IDF declined to comment on whether the convoy The Post identified was the same one under investigation.

The IDF said in a statement that the gunman fired “multiple barrages” toward the convoy, before the IDF soldier returned fire. The Post’s analysis, however, found no evidence of a firefight in the moments before Abu Akleh was killed.

Additional videos of the convoy were filmed from about halfway between the location of Abu Akleh and the military vehicles. The Post was not able to identify who recorded these videos or determine precisely when they were recorded.

In a video posted to Telegram, an IDF convoy is stationed on the same street and south of where journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on May 11 in Jenin. (Telegram)

“I went to cover the news,” Samoudi said. “The news and the story, whatever it is, is not more precious than my life. So when I take precautions, I take them for the sake of my life.”

Those precautions, he said, included ensuring that there was no one around him that could have left the journalists caught in a gunfight — either militants, or even youth throwing stones at the Israelis. Samoudi, who was released from the hospital but is still recovering from a bullet wound to his shoulder, called on the IDF to release any footage it had filmed during the raid.

“We went to cover news,” he said. “Not to die.”

About this story

Editing by Elyse Samuels, Kareem Fahim and Reem Akkad. Video editing by Sarah Cahlan. Graphics editing by Atthar Mirza. Copy editing by Jamie Zega. Design editing by Junne Alcantara. Design and development by Irfan Uraizee.

Osama Hasan in Jenin, Shira Rubin in Tel Aviv, Ellen Francis in London, Sarah Dadouch and Nader Durgham in Beirut, and Sufian Taha in the West Bank contributed to this report.

 

By Sarah Cahlan

Sarah Cahlan is a video reporter for The Washington Post's Visual Forensics team. Before joining the Post she was an NAHJ fellow at NBC News.  Twitter

 

By Meg Kelly

Meg Kelly is a video reporter for The Washington Post's Visual Forensics team.  Twitter

 

By Steve Hendrix

Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Hendrix has written for just about every section of the paper since coming to the Washington Post 20 years ago, reporting from the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and most corners of the United States.  Twitter