Israeli forces killed Abu Akleh on 11 May last year as she was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin.
A US senator has urged the Biden administration to provide lawmakers with access to a United States Security Coordinator (USSC) report on the murder of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, on Tuesday said he wrote to United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken pleading with him to make the assessment “available immediately for Congressional review,” as per reports.
“I ask that you immediately authorise the release of the full and unedited USSC Report under appropriate classification to me and other interested Members of Congress,” the senator wrote to Blinken, as quoted by reports.
However, the report itself not been recognised by the Biden administration, and it is unclear when the paper was admitted. Van Hollen said his office had been in touch with State Department personnel about the situation for the previous 12 days.
The USSC supervises and promotes cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli authorities on security issues.
In the letter sent to Blinken on 1 May, Van Hollen expressed fear that the report may be changed.
“Most recently, we were informed that, before congressional release of the USSC Report is authorised, the Administration plans to make unspecified changes to its contents,” the letter reads.
“While the Administration has characterised its proposed changes as ‘technical,’ any actions to alter the USSC’s Summation Report in any way would violate the integrity of this process.”
Killing ‘Palestine’s voice’
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed Abu Akleh on 11 May last year as she was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin, sending shockwaves among millions around the world.
The soldier proceeded to shoot Abu Akleh despite her clearly identifying as a member of the press by wearing her blue vest and helmet.
She was also shot in a precise spot that was not covered by her helmet, and witnesses said the IOF continued to fire bullets to prevent medics from reaching the journalist before she died.
The IOF initially claimed Abu Akleh was killed by Palestinian gunfire, though witness testimonies and reports were quick to counter its narrative. Shortly after, the Israeli soldier admitted that he killed the journalist, though he claimed that he did not see her at the time of the attack.
Abu Akleh’s funeral, the biggest in Palestine, was also attacked by Israeli forces who attempted to drop the coffin that held the veteran journalist’s body. Pallbearers were beaten by the IOF and others were questioned for protecting the casket.
Lack of accountability
Rights groups around the world and Al Jazeera have continued to demand justice for Abu Akleh.
The Qatar-based network also took the case up to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Following the killing, Abu Akleh’s family met with Joe Biden, whose government pumps $3.8 billion worth of security assistance annually into Israel, despite rights groups accusing Israel of imposing a system of apartheid on indigenous Palestinians.
However, Washington has yet to condemn Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
The US has also rejected attempts to have the ICC investigate the killing of Abu Akleh.