Three questions to Jacques-Marie Bourget on the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh

Three questions to Jacques-Marie Bourget on the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh
Three questions to Jacques-Marie Bourget on the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh
Nous republions l'interview de Jacques-Marie Bourget, sur le meurtre de Shireen Abu Akleh, par l'armée israélienne le 11 mai 2022 alors qu’elle couvrait un raid militaire israélien sur un camp de réfugiés à Jénine. Cette journaliste de cinquante et un ans était correspondante d’Al Jazeera depuis vingt-cinq ans. Il y a quelques jours le gouvernement israélien actait l’interdiction de la chaîne Al-Jazeera, qualifiée de « suppôt du terrorisme ».

French journalist Jacques-Marie Bourget experienced a tragedy similar to that of Shireen Abu Akleh, the journalist killed last week and whose funeral was not even held. Luckily, he survived but his fight to have what happened recognized was not easy.

Can you explain to us how your story is close to that of Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al-Jazeera journalist killed a few days ago?

As soon as I saw the videos of the assassination of this colleague, listening to the sound of the explosions, I understood that they were M16 rifles, rifles used by the Israeli army. I recognize this weapon because that’s what the Israelis wanted to kill me with. I didn’t have time to hear the noise because they are supersonic bullets, they hit you before you hear the detonation. Immediately, seeing the images, I thought about what happened to me. I didn’t have a press vest or helmet because I was in the Ramallah square, completely quiet, without any fuss. If I was in this square with a vest and a helmet, the Palestinians would have put me among the crazy because it didn’t make sense. Here, we have a more acute situation, because there were clashes in Jenin. If we want insurance to work, for journalists to be protected, we need a helmet, a bulletproof vest, appropriate equipment.

I immediately knew that it was an operation similar to the one I was the victim of, that is to say, a sniper shot, a precision shot. And in this case, they had to be even more precise because since she had a bulletproof vest and a helmet, the only part where they could reach her was her head. . It’s no coincidence, she was targeted and eliminated. It is my firm conviction that there was a deliberate desire to make it disappear.

For my part, I was targeted and shot down in a public square in Ramallah, while we were perfectly peaceful. Friends and I investigated later, and we learned that a shooter was stationed at the City Inn Hotel in Ramallah, which was occupied by the Israeli general staff. This shooter adjusted me and put a bullet in the lung just above the heart. Similarity there is: journalist, precision shooting. Psychologically, I know what that means. I was convinced that I was going to put a plaster on and that I was going to get better. It seems so outrageous that someone could shoot a journalist that it’s hard to believe. We have a feeling of injustice, it’s incomprehension, chaos.

The other similarity is Israeli storytelling: they regret this incident, they will carry out a thorough investigation, we must not accuse without proof. They will say: “It’s the Palestinians because we never do that.” We are saving time and the time of the so-called investigation, there is no investigation, we are sweeping the dust under the carpet. We forget everything and move on to the next one. This is absolutely cynical!

As proof, in my case, the Israelis refused any collaboration with French justice. They even refused to treat me. The Palestinians said: “we have a French journalist who needs to be treated”. The Palestinians are used to war surgery, but the Israelis are better equipped in terms of equipment. They refused, they wanted me to die. This great democracy refused to treat a journalist who was dying. But it’s logical, if they shot me, it wasn’t to treat me afterwards.

Another similarity, I think that this colleague was wiretapping. With the Pegasus system, an Israeli system, it is not impossible that she was tracked, or even expected. You will say that I write detective novels, but that’s what happened for me. They put a GPS transmitter under my car, which allowed them to follow me step by step to find out where I was. This is part of the hypotheses in my opinion: not only did this colleague take a bullet – let’s say involuntarily – but at the same time, there was the desire to make her disappear.

Are we reaching a new threshold in the impunity of the Israeli government?

As far as I am concerned, despite the judicial cooperation conventions signed between France and Israel in 1958, the Israelis have refused any cooperation. There was a refusal to collaborate with French justice.

After three years, there was still no news. And at that time, my lawyer William Bourdon was told: “There is an investigation, but it is secret. It was the army which took charge of this investigation, but it was lost. And anyway, it’s the Palestinians.” I was taken for an imbecile and the French justice system didn’t care, they didn’t care.

Here the situation is a little more difficult. The journalist is an American citizen, which is worth a little more than the others. I noted that the Americans made much less noise than if she had been killed by Russians in Ukraine, that is very clear. There is little fuss, little noise. But it is still American power and its institutions.

For my part, I didn’t really get through it to the extent that even today, I am disabled and traumatized. But the bullet remained stuck behind the shoulder blade. When the bullet was removed from me for this assassination attempt, we were able to find out more. I say assassination because that is the case, I was the victim of a war crime. The journalist is a civilian, shooting a civilian is a war crime. So I had this bullet removed, it was analyzed. And experts in France said that this bullet came from an Israeli company called IMI (Israeli Military Industry). The crime was signed. This is how I managed, not to win my case in Israel, but at least in France. The courts wrote in black and white “Mr Bourget was the victim of an Israeli shot”. For me it was a victory, but we had to wait twenty years!

The day after Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, Israel could be heard claiming in the media that the Palestinians were responsible. Do you think an investigation will establish the truth?

The media are relays of lies, we automatically say that they are Palestinians. Throughout the world, there are those who will say: “Let’s wait, let’s not go too quickly, let’s wait for the result of the investigation”. Finally we suppress the crime, we forget it.

The fact of having found a projectile in the head of our unfortunate colleague is a bit unfortunate for the Israelis. The Palestinians were right not to entrust the projectile to the Israelis, they cannot be trusted. I am very pessimistic for the investigation which certainly can lead to a truth, and I think that the analysis of the ammunition is very important. But that’s all, there will be no condemnation. The gun that fired that bullet is already crushed. For twenty years, there have been 46 journalists who have been killed by Israelis and never has an investigation been successful!

Source: Investig’Action



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