Veteran Al Jazeera journalist was killed by Israeli troops on May 11 while reporting in Jenin.
Twenty-four United States senators have called on President Joe Biden to ensure direct Washington involvement in the investigation into the murder of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces.
The latest appeal from US lawmakers comes after the Biden administration reneged on Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement in early June that the US wanted an “independent” investigation into Abu Akleh’s assassination when it raided Jenin on the occupied West Bank on May 11. †
The US State Department later told Al Jazeera it maintained its previous position that Israel should lead the investigation and has repeatedly insisted that it be fair and transparent.
Multiple witnesses said Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli gunfire, a story that has been coerced by numerous investigations. The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based, have also blamed Israel.
In the letter delivered Thursday, lawmakers, all Democrats and two independents consulting with the party called for “a thorough and transparent investigation under the auspices of the US” into the assassination of Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American press” wore. vest when she was shot.
The letter comes as Israeli and Palestinian officials disagree over how to conduct the investigation. The Palestinian authorities reject any Israeli involvement, arguing that it would not be a fair and transparent investigation. Rights organizations have called for an independent investigation.
Israel initially denied that its soldier committed the murder, arguing that Abu Akleh could have been killed by a Palestinian gunman. It later came back and said it couldn’t rule out the possibility that an Israeli soldier had fired the shot.
Israel’s investigation focuses on one soldier, though it has not yet concluded whether anyone will face criminal charges for the murder. It has not released any findings after an internal investigation.
In early June, the PA called on Israel to hand over the gun that fired the shot that killed Abu Akleh.
Israel, meanwhile, had previously asked the PA to provide the bullet extracted from the veteran journalist’s body so Israel can conduct its own ballistics investigation. The PA rejected the request.
Today 24 of us are calling on @POTUS to ensure direct US involvement in the investigation into the death of US journalist Shireen Abu Akleh so that all parties can have confidence in the findings and be accountable. pic.twitter.com/HqwOFm4zg0
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) June 23, 2022
“It is clear that neither side on the ground trusts the other to conduct a credible and independent investigation,” US senators, led by Senator Chris Van Hollen, wrote in a letter to Biden, which will be sent to Israel in July. visits. †
“We believe the only way to achieve that goal is for the United States to be directly involved,” they wrote.
A White House National Security Council spokesman said the US is not conducting an official investigation, but urged both sides to share evidence.
“We expect full accountability from those responsible,” the spokesperson added. The Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC said Israel has conducted a thorough investigation and “continues to call for an investigation with the United States in an observer role”.
Al Jazeera Media Network announced on May 26 that it had appointed a legal team to refer the murder to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
The case was recently handed over to the ICC Prosecutor. However, the current status of the investigation remains unclear.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz further cast doubt on Israel’s ability to conduct an honest investigation, reporting last week, citing sources, that no police would be punished for assaulting mourners and mourners’ porters at the funeral. from Abu Akleh.
On Sunday, hundreds of people attended a memorial rally in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, to mark 40 days since Abu Akleh’s assassination.