JERUSALEM, Sunday, July 10, 2022 (WAFA) – The family of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on May 11 while covering an army assault in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, has accused the US administration of whitewashing her killing and perpetuating impunity.
The family, in a letter to US President Joe Biden, has also accused his administration of intentionally undermining efforts toward justice and accountability for Abu Akleh's killing and asked to meet Biden during his upcoming visit to the region, scheduled to start on Wednesday.
“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,” wrote Abu Akleh's brother Anton, and niece, Lina, in their letter to President Biden.
They charged that despite all available evidence and reports by major US media outlets and human rights organizations confirming that Abu Akleh, a US citizen who worked for Al Jazeera, "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. Instead, the United States has been skulking toward the erasure of any wrongdoing by Israeli forces."
They accused the US administration’s actions of exhibiting an apparent intent to undermine efforts toward justice and accountability for Abu Akleh's murder.
"From the failure to immediately ensure an independent and impartial investigation, to the rushed hand-off of the bullet that killed Shireen without consultation let alone allowing us to have a representative present, which culminated in the July 4 statement adopting the conclusions and talking points of the Israeli government, your administration’s engagement has served to whitewash Shireen’s killing and perpetuate impunity," wrote the family.
The family asked to meet Biden during his upcoming visit in order to "hear directly from us about our concerns and demands for justice," as well as to "provide us with all of the information gathered by your administration to date concerning Shireen’s killings, including any evidence reviewed and assessed by US officials, the identities and qualifications of all individuals present during the latest review of evidence, any forensics reports or other information that has not been provided to us or our legal team."
The family also asked the State Department to retract its July 4 press statement, "given that the Department's own account indicates that it is not based on any credible assessment," and to "direct the Department of Justice, including the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and any other relevant US offices or agencies to take action on Shireen’s extrajudicial killing."