Shireen Abu Aqleh: Family of slain journalist requests meeting with Biden | Israel
The family of Shireen Abu Aqleh, the famous Palestinian-American journalist killed in an Israeli military raid in the West Bank, demands a meeting with President Biden during his visit to Jerusalem this week after accusing his administration of shielding Israel from responsibility of his death.
Abu Aqleh’s brother, Anton, wrote to Biden on Friday to express his family’s “grief, outrage and sense of betrayal” after the US State Department concluded that Israeli forces were “likely responsible. of shooting the Al Jazeera journalist in the head in the West Bank city of Jenin in May, but “found no reason to believe it was intentional”.
The letter to Biden said the State Department’s assessment was a “whitewash” given the weight of evidence showing that Abu Aqleh was “subject to extrajudicial assassination” by the Israeli military, including including a United Nations report that soldiers fired “several apparently well-aimed bullets” at her and other journalists
The family accused the White House of adopting the Israeli government’s findings and talking points in “an apparent intent to undermine our efforts to seek justice and accountability for Shireen’s death.”
“Instead, the United States has worked to erase any wrongdoing by Israeli forces,” the letter said.
The journalist’s niece, Lina Abu Aqleh, told the Guardian that the request to meet Biden after he arrived in Jerusalem on Wednesday was met with silence from the White House. Abu Aqleh, who said he was very close to his aunt and spoke to her almost every day, accused Washington of putting Israeli interests ahead of finding out the truth about the death of an American citizen.
“The United States is clearly trying to bury the matter. They try to cover it up,” she said.
“If Shireen had been killed in Ukraine, I’m 100% sure the reaction would have been completely different. Measures were reportedly taken from day one. There would have been accountability. There would have been a transparent and independent investigation. And there would have been justice.
The Abu Aqleh family is supported by Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.
“This is clear – the Department of State has completely failed in the accomplishment of its mission with respect to the murder of an American citizen. This failure sends a clear message to the world: some American lives are worth more than others. , and certain ‘allies’ have the right to kill with impunity,” Tlaib said in a statement. statement
Last week, the State Department said the US security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Lt. Gen. Mark Schwartz, had been “granted full access” to Israeli and Palestinian investigations into the death of the journalist and that he had supervised “an extremely detailed medico-legal investigation”. analysis” of the bullet that killed her.
The department said the security coordinator concluded that Abu Aqleh’s death was “the result of tragic circumstances” during an Israeli military operation. But he said investigators ‘could not come to a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet’ because it was too damaged.
The late journalist’s family told Biden that the State Department agreed with Israeli claims that she was killed in a gunfight with Palestinian militants when the UN and other investigations found discovered that Abu Aqleh was not near the fighting at the time.
“Your administration’s actions can only be seen as an attempt to erase the extrajudicial execution of Shireen and further entrench the systemic impunity enjoyed by Israeli forces and officials for unlawfully killing Palestinians,” the statement said. family in the letter to the president.
Lina Abu Aqleh said the United States did not provide the family with details of the investigation or how the security coordinator reached his conclusions, and called on Biden to release the information his administration gathered on the murder.
“We never felt like we were in the loop or supported. We received condolences. But we need meaningful commitment and action. That’s what we’re asking for. , and we haven’t received it,” she said.
The family asked Biden to withdraw the State Department’s assessment and appoint the FBI and other agencies to conduct a full investigation into the murder. He is also investigating who tested the bullet after the Palestinian Authority agreed to hand it over to the United States for forensic testing on the condition that the Israelis were not involved. However, the Israeli military claimed the test was to be carried out by Israeli experts with the United States acting as observers.
The White House has been approached for comment.