Scottish PEN is greatly distressed by reports emerging from Palestine, via the Coalition For Women In Journalism, that the shrine honouring the late Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akieh was demolished during the attacks on Jenin in the West Bank on 27th October.October 31, 2023
Scottish PEN is greatly distressed by reports emerging from Palestine, via the Coalition For Women In Journalism, that the shrine honouring the late Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akieh was demolished during the attacks on Jenin in the West Bank on 27th October.
Reports of the destruction of the shrine emerge mere days after the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory “concluded on reasonable grounds that Israeli forces used lethal force without justification under international human rights law”, in the killing of the veteran TV correspondent on May 11th 2022 while she was on assignment in Jenin.
Subsequently, footage of Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral showed Israeli police beating mourners with batons as they struggled to carry her coffin, and the coffin being rocked back and forth and then falling. It appears that her memory has now been further disrespected.
The PEN Charter states that [i]n all circumstances, and particularly in time of war, works of art, the patrimony of humanity at large, should be left untouched by national or political passion. We believe that this principle should extend to writing and to journalists and writers reporting from conflict zones. and that this general principle of humanity is violated by the apparent targeting of journalists and journalism in the current attacks on Gaza and the West Bank.
Alongside the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists, we are highly alarmed by widespread reports of a communications blackout in Gaza alongside intensified bombing and ground operations by Israeli forces, as well as a refusal to guarantee the safety of journalists.
Scottish PEN condemns the violation of international law and humanitarian norms in conflict, and calls on the governments of Scotland and the United Kingdom to join us in condemning these acts, and in urging a ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank.