Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed by Israel Defence Forces remembered at Stop CANSEC protest in Ottawa

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On May 31, Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was remembered at a protest outside the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa, Canada.

Among the exhibitors at CANSEC this year were Israel (booth M7), Elbit Systems Ltd. (booth 1421) and Thales Canada Inc. (booth 1701).

Three weeks ago, Reuters reported: “A year after Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot while covering an Israeli army raid [in the West Bank city of Jenin], family and friends say her killers are yet to be held responsible. Witnesses have said there were no Palestinian fighters firing in the area where Abu Akleh was standing, and her family and Palestinian officials believe Israeli forces killed her deliberately.”

Photo: Shireen Abu Akleh.

CNN recently reported that Israel Defense Forces Rear Admiral Hagari has now apologized for the death of Abu Akleh, but the article then further notes “Military Advocate General’s Office [has stated] that it did not intend to pursue criminal charges or prosecutions of any of the soldiers involved.”

Photo: Shireen killed by the IDF on May 11, 2022. Photo by AFP.

Video: The Al Jazeera newsroom in Ramallah reacts to the murder of Shireen.

Elbit implicated in the murder of Shireen

Visualizing Palestine has tweeted: “Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered with a 5.56mm bullet. Elbit Systems subsidiary IMI Systems is the main supplier of bullets to the Israeli military…” Electronic Intifada has also posted: “Israeli Military Industries (IMI) … is believed to have manufactured the 5.56mm bullet that took the life of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh.”

And France 24 has reported: “The official Palestinian investigation … found that Abu Akleh was killed with a 5.56 millimetre armour-piercing round fired from a Ruger Mini-14 rifle”, while The Independent has further noted: “Al Jazeera … 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.”

Elbit Systems of America is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas; has facilities in San Antonio, Texas, Merrimack, New Hampshire, Talladega, Alabama, Roanoke, Virginia, Boca Raton, Florida and De Leon Springs, Florida; and last month opened its newest plant in North Charleston, South Carolina.


The “CANSEC is Global” promotional video features a representative from Thales Canada say: “I noticed an Israeli delegation on the booth earlier.”

At a protest in April 2016, Inminds chair Abbas Ali said: “Thales UK has a billion pound contract with Israel’s largest arms company Elbit Systems to develop a fleet of drones for the UK military based on Elbit’s Hermes 450 killer drone which Human Rights Watch has documented as being used by Israel to deliberately target Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

Thales weapon sales have also been implicated in human rights violations in West Papua, Myanmar and Yemen.

Journalists at risk

The Committee to Protect Journalists says: “Since 2001, CPJ has documented at least 20 journalist killings by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces]. The vast majority — 18 — were Palestinian; two were European foreign correspondents; there were no Israelis. No one has ever been charged or held accountable for these deaths.”

Reporting an even higher number of fatalities, The Guardian has further noted: “According to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, 30 journalists have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israeli fire since 2000 but no indictments against soldiers have ever been filed.”

Furthermore, the United Nations says Abu Akleh was one of 191 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and Jewish settlers in 2022.

At the time of her death, the UN noted: “Since the beginning of the year, OHCHR [the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights] said that it had verified that Israeli Security Forces had killed 58 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 13 children.”

For more about the protest this year, please see this Democracy Now! coverage, this World Beyond War article, and our overview at Activists block the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa, call on companies to stop profiting from war and repression.

Further reading: How Canada Helped Israel Whitewash Its Killing Of A Palestinian Journalist (Alex Cosh, The Maple, May 11, 2023).

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