| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Family of Shireen Abu Akleh asks to meet US President Biden

The family of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has demanded a personal meeting with President Joe Biden during his visit to Israel next week, alleging that the US is giving Israel impunity for her murder.

The family claimed in a letter to Biden that the administration fell short of its own declared goal of ensuring complete accountability by simply adopting the Israeli government’s findings regarding her death, which it described as an extrajudicial killing.

“Your administration’s engagement has served to whitewash Shireen’s killing and perpetuate impunity,” said the letter, signed by her brother Anton Abu Akleh on the family’s behalf.

“It is as if you expect the world and us to now just move on. Silence would have been better.” The family asked to see all the information the administration has collected on the issue.

Abu Akleh was killed on May 11 during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin under bitterly disputed circumstances.

Last month the United Nations human rights office said evidence suggested Israeli military fire had killed Abu Akleh while she stood with other reporters and was identifiable as a journalist.

The State Department on Monday said she was likely killed by gunfire from Israeli positions but it was probably unintentional and independent investigators could not reach a definitive conclusion about the origin of the bullet that struck her.

Palestinian officials criticized the report and maintained she had been deliberately targeted by an Israeli soldier. Israel denied this.

In his first Middle East trip as president on July 13-16, Biden is expected to meet separately with Palestinian and Israeli leaders. The Abu Akleh case will be a diplomatic and domestic test for new Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

A group of 24 US senators in Biden’s Democratic Party last month urged him to ensure direct US involvement in the investigation of Abu Akleh’s killing.

  • alarabiya