Shireen Abu Akleh family’s letter to Joe Biden: Full text | Israel-Palestine conflict News

As Joe Biden prepares to embark on his first journey to Israel as US president, the household of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has despatched him a letter laying out an inventory of calls for to make sure accountability for her killing within the occupied West Financial institution in Could.

The letter on Friday berated Biden for what it known as efforts by his administration to “whitewash Shireen’s killing and perpetuate impunity” for Israeli forces who killed the journalist in Could.

The Biden administration infuriated Palestinian rights and press freedom advocates when it launched an announcement saying the bullet that killed Abu Akleh “probably” got here from an Israeli army place however dismissed the incident because the unintentional “results of tragic circumstances”.

Abu Akleh’s household known as on the US administration to retract that assertion, expressing “grief, outrage and sense of betrayal” with Biden.

Under is the complete textual content of the household’s letter.  (Hyperlinks, emphasis in unique)

Pricey Mr. President:

We, the household of Shireen Abu Akleh, write to specific our grief, outrage and sense of betrayal regarding your administration’s abject response to the extrajudicial killing of our sister and aunt by Israeli forces on Could 11, 2022, whereas on project within the occupied Palestinian metropolis of Jenin within the West Financial institution.

Shireen was a distinguished, beloved Palestinian journalist. She was a task mannequin and a mentor to aspiring Palestinian feminine journalists, and a trusted colleague of many within the native and worldwide media. She was additionally a United States citizen. Regardless of carrying a protecting helmet and blue bulletproof vest clearly marked as “PRESS,” Shireen was murdered by an Israeli-fired bullet to the pinnacle. Israeli forces continued to fireplace dwell rounds as bystanders– together with different members of the press–tried to render help. Then, as we and a whole lot of others gathered to start her funeral procession, Israeli forces attacked us, beating mourners and pallbearers, violently disrupting the dignified burial procession she deserved.

Within the days and weeks since an Israeli soldier killed Shireen, not solely have we not been adequately consulted, knowledgeable, and supported by U.S. authorities officers, however your administration’s actions exhibit an obvious intent to undermine our efforts towards justice and accountability for Shireen’s dying. Investigations performed by the United Nations, the New York Instances, the Washington Publish, CNN, the Related Press, Bellingcat, and B’Tselem all concluded an Israeli soldier fired the shot that killed Shireen. All obtainable proof means that Shireen, a U.S. citizen, was the topic of an extrajudicial killing, but your administration has completely failed to fulfill the naked minimal expectation held by a grieving household—to make sure a immediate, thorough, credible, neutral, impartial, efficient and clear investigation that results in true justice and accountability for Shireen’s killing.

As an alternative, the USA has been skulking towards the erasure of any wrongdoing by Israeli forces. From the failure to right away guarantee an impartial and neutral investigation, to the rushed hand-off of the bullet that killed Shireen with out session not to mention permitting us to have a consultant current, which culminated within the July 4 assertion adopting the conclusions and speaking factors of the Israeli authorities, your administration’s engagement has served to whitewash Shireen’s killing and perpetuate impunity. Little info has been shared on who oversaw the American “summation” of investigations, who participated within the ballistics evaluation, or any particular particular person {qualifications} or findings resulting in the conclusions issued by your administration. It’s as if you happen to anticipate the world and us to now simply transfer on. Silence would have been higher.

You may have made clear that your administration is prepared to abdicate its duty regarding Israel’s extrajudicial killing of Shireen. The July 4 press assertion by Division of State Spokesperson Ned Worth introduced that Shireen’s killing was probably unintentional, but when pressed by reporters throughout the July 5 press briefing, Mr. Worth conceded that no one current was certified to succeed in a conclusion about intent. He additionally clarified that the USA authorities didn’t, the truth is, conduct its personal investigation, not to mention authorized evaluation, and that the Division of State was content material with merely “summarizing”—and adopting—Israeli authorities’ investigation. Nonetheless, your administration deemed it essential to incorporate and perpetuate the baseless and damaging conclusion that the killing was not intentional, seemingly selecting political expedience over precise accountability for a overseas authorities’s killing of a U.S. citizen.

We remind you that on Could 11, the day an Israeli soldier killed Shireen, Mr. Worth stood on the Division of State podium to strongly condemn her killing and name for “a direct and thorough investigation and full accountability.” Then, on July 5, that decision for full accountability was decreased to nothing greater than a contorted assertion that Israel “quickly can be able to contemplate steps to additional safeguard noncombatants.” We’re incredulous that such an expectation can be the top of your administration’s response to the killing of Shireen. Israeli forces have for lengthy recognized no bounds, perpetrating battle crimes and killing Palestinian civilians with impunity, together with these clearly identifiable as youngsters, medical personnel and journalists. Israeli officers and armed forces are enabled and empowered by unconditional U.S.-sourced weapons and monetary help after which supplied with close to absolute diplomatic assist to protect Israeli officers from any accountability.

Since Israeli forces killed our Shireen, lawmakers have pressed you to ship on the robust condemnation and name for “full accountability” regarding Shireen’s dying. On Could 19, 57 members of Congress despatched a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray to demand the State Division and the FBI launch an investigation into the killing of Shireen. On June 6, Sens. Jon Ossof and Mitt Romney despatched a letter to Secretary Blinken insisting that the administration guarantee a “full and clear investigation and accountability”. On June 23, Senator Chris Van Hollen and 23 of his Senate colleagues despatched you a letter demanding you make sure the direct involvement of the USA within the investigation of Shireen’s killing, stressing the significance of an impartial, thorough, and clear investigation.

Shireen Abu Akleh vigil
A girl lays flowers at a makeshift memorial for Shireen Abu Akleh throughout a vigil in Washington, DC Could 17 [File: Al Jazeera]

We reaffirm these calls for on behalf of our beloved Shireen as your administration’s actions thus far haven’t solely fallen woefully in need of “full accountability” however they quantity to specific acceptance for Shireen’s killing. Your administration’s actions can solely be seen as an try to erase the extrajudicial killing of Shireen and additional entrench the systemic impunity loved by Israeli forces and officers for unlawfully killing Palestinians.

We name on you to:

  1. Meet with us throughout your upcoming go to and listen to immediately from us about our considerations and calls for for justice.
  2. Present us with the entire info gathered by your administration thus far regarding Shireen’s killings, together with any proof reviewed and assessed by U.S. officers, the identities and {qualifications} of all people current throughout the newest overview of proof, any forensics stories or different info that has not been supplied to us or our authorized staff.
  3. Retract the Division of State’s July 4 press assertion, on condition that the Division’s personal account signifies that it’s not based mostly on any credible evaluation.
  4. Direct the Division of Justice, together with the Human Rights and Particular Prosecutions Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and another related U.S. places of work or companies to take motion on Shireen’s extrajudicial killing.
  5. Lastly, and it needs to be evidently, we anticipate the Biden administration assist our efforts to push for accountability and justice for Shireen, wherever they take us.


Anton Abu Akleh

On behalf of the Abu Akleh Household

CC: Secretary of State Mr. Antony Blinken

Leave a Reply