Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli sniper while reporting on a raid in Jenin.
The relatives of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh have renewed calls for an independent investigation into the killing, just days after meeting the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
In a statement made outside the US Capitol in Washington, the family of the veteran Al Jazeera correspondent urged ‘meaningful action’ from the Biden administration, which has already received criticism for attempting to whitewash Israel’s involvement in the crime.
Abu Akleh was shot dead by an Israeli sniper while reporting on a raid in Jenin in full press gear.
A United Nations investigation into the incident corroborated witness testimonials to find Israeli forces to blame for the tragic killing.
“This is the very least the Biden administration can do. They cannot rely on Israel’s words. War criminals cannot investigate their own crimes,” the niece of the journalist, Lina Abu Akleh said in Washington.
The family had earlier demanded a meeting with US President Joe Biden during his tour of the Middle East to discuss the killing of the journalist, who was also an American citizen.
However, their request to meet in Jerusalem was denied and they were instead invited to Washington where they met Blinken.
In that meeting, Blinken vowed to pursue accountability, despite a previous US investigation claiming the killing was likely “unintentional”.
In their statement, the family once again called for a meeting with Biden.
“President Biden was ten minutes away, he never came to see us,” the brother of Shireen, Tony Abu Akleh, told reporters in Washington.
The family’s renewed calls for an independent probe has been backed by at least 80 members of congress in the United States, as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“I am grateful to stand here today with the family of Shireen Abu Akleh in our demand for a full, transparent, independent investigation. One month ago, we wrote to President Biden making this demand. We detailed the numerous, flagrant press freedom violations taking place in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We received no response,” said Gypsy Guillén Kaiser, CPJ Advocacy and Communications Director.
“Today, we remind President Biden of his own global commitments, his pledge to champion democracy and a free press as a cornerstone of a world where the collective fabric of facts matters. If Biden’s words at his inauguration: to lead by “the power of our example,” are true, then anything less than a full investigation into Shireen’s killing, is simply unacceptable.”
The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and subsequent attack on mourners at her funeral triggered shockwaves across the world, with many calling for action to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations against Palestinians.