Family of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh asks to meet with US President Biden, days before Middle East trip

Family of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh asks to meet with US President Biden, days before Middle East trip
Shireen Abu Akleh's family accused the Biden administration of adopting Israel's conclusions over the Palestinian journalist's killing, and has asked to meet with him.
2 min read
Abu Akleh's killing caused worldwide outrage [Getty]

The family of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has accused the United States of giving impunity to Israel over her killing and asked to meet President Joe Biden in person during his trip to Israel next week.

In a letter to Biden posted on Twitter on Friday, the family said the administration simply adopted the Israeli government's conclusions over her death, which it described as an extrajudicial killing, while falling short of its own stated goal of ensuring full accountability.

"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, a veteran journalist with the pan-Arab Al Jazeera network, was killed on May 11 during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin by an Israeli sniper, who shot her in the head.

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, as she was a wearing a visible press vest.

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 condemned the report and maintained she had been deliberately targeted by an Israeli soldier. Israel has denied this, accusing Palestinian militants of shooting her, but later backtracked and promised an investigation.

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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.