WASHINGTON (Middle East Eye) – The family of Shireen Abu Akleh has rejected the United States’ conclusion on the Palestinian reporter’s killing, demanding on Thursday that Washington open its own investigation.
Speaking at a news conference alongside several U.S. lawmakers outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Thursday afternoon, Abu Akleh’s relatives said they came to the nation’s capitol with one request for the administration of President Joe Biden: launch a thorough and independent investigation into the killing.
The family spent this week in Washington meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and several lawmakers in Congress, after Biden rebuffed a request to meet with Abu Akleh’s family during his visit to the occupied territories earlier this month.
“Any family of a U.S. citizen who is killed abroad expects their government to put their resources behind an investigation. This is the very least the Biden administration must do,” Abu Akleh’s niece Lina said during Thursday’s press conference.
“We made this demand clear to Secretary Blinken, but he did not make any promises.”
Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American journalist for Al Jazeera Arabic, was killed on 11 May while covering a Zionist military raid in the Palestinian city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Her death sparked Palestinian outrage and widespread international condemnation.
Since the killing, investigations by Middle East Eye, The Washington Post, The New York Times, as well as international bodies and the United Nations, concluded that Zionist troops had in fact likely killed Abu Akleh.
However, the State Department earlier this month announced its conclusion on the killing, saying that while it was likely Zionist fire that killed Abu Akleh, the U.S. had “found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances”.
“We want to know who pulled the trigger and why. We want there to be accountability for the system that gave the green light so that other families don’t suffer the way that we have,” said Abu Akleh’s nephew, Victor.
Palestinian advocates have condemned the administration’s response to the killing, saying that it was trying to bury the killing of Abu Akleh rather than seeking true accountability.
Meanwhile, there have been several calls from members of U.S. Congress and the Senate for the administration to launch an independent probe into the killing of Abu Akleh.
Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said during Thursday’s press conference that it was “shameful” that Abu Akleh’s family has to come to Washington to push the U.S. government to take action.
“This is the life of Palestinians in Israel. Even after death, dehumanization doesn’t stop. Our country can stop it though. We must help stop the enabling of death and violence by just looking away.”