Shireen Abu Akleh's family requests meeting with Biden when he visits Israel

Family criticises US on examination where Washington avoided holding Tel Aviv responsible for killing journalist

Anadolu Agency July 11, 2022
People light candles during a vigil in memory of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during an Israeli raid, outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, May 16, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS


The brother of murdered veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh requested a meeting with US President Joe Biden when he visits Israel next week.

Anton Abu Akleh wrote a three-page letter on behalf of his family and urged Biden for a meeting.

The family harshly criticised the results of an examination where the US avoided remarks that held Israel responsible for Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing.

"We, the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, write to express our grief, outrage and sense of betrayal concerning your administration’s abject response to the extrajudicial killing of our sister and aunt by Israeli forces on May 11, 2022, while on assignment in the occupied Palestinian city of Jenin in the West Bank," it said.

It underlined that the journalist, who was also a US citizen, was killed by an Israeli-fired bullet to the head, despite wearing a protective helmet and a blue bulletproof vest that was marked "press.”

US 'undermines family’s efforts toward justice'

The family accused the US administration of not taking necessary steps although all the evidence is against Israel regarding the killing of the veteran Al Jazeera journalist.

"In the days and weeks since an Israeli soldier killed Shireen, not only have we not been adequately consulted, informed, and supported by US government officials, but your administration’s actions exhibit an apparent intent to undermine our efforts toward justice and accountability for Shireen’s death," said the letter.

Also read: UN panel finds journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire

The family also cited investigations separately conducted by the UN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Associated Press, Bellingcat and B’Tselem, stressing that they all concluded “an Israeli soldier fired the shot that killed Shireen.”

“All available evidence suggests that Shireen, a US citizen, was the subject of an extrajudicial killing, yet your administration has thoroughly failed to meet the bare minimum expectation held by a grieving family—to ensure a prompt, thorough, credible, impartial, independent, effective and transparent investigation that leads to true justice and accountability for Shireen’s killing.”

'Silence would have been better'

The family said that “the United States has been skulking toward the erasure of any wrongdoing by Israeli forces.”

It noted that "Little information has been shared on who oversaw the American 'summation' of investigations, who participated in the ballistics assessment, or any specific individual qualifications or findings leading to the conclusions issued by your administration. It is as if you expect the world and us to now just move on. Silence would have been better."

Family requests meeting with Biden

The family urged Biden to have a meeting during his upcoming visit to Israel so the US president could “hear directly from us about our concerns and demands for justice.”

It also requested that all evidence and information collected by the US administration regarding the murder of Abu Akleh be shared with the family and relevant US judicial institutions should be directed to take action on "Shireen’s extrajudicial killing."

"Finally, and it should be needless to say, we expect the Biden administration (to) support our efforts to push for accountability and justice for Shireen, wherever they take us," it added.

Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead May 11 while covering an Israeli military raid near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

While Palestinian officials and Al Jazeera accused Israel of killing the reporter, Tel Aviv denied any responsibility.


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