THE family of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank in May, has called for ‘meaningful action’ against Israel by the Biden administration.
In company with several American lawmakers, the family held a news conference outside the US Capitol on Thursday, where they demanded an independent probe into her cold-blooded murder, Al Jazeera reported.
Abu Akleh’s relatives stressed that the murdered journalist was an American citizen entitled to the protection of her government.
‘We want to know who pulled the trigger, and why,’ Victor Abu Akleh, Shireen’s nephew, told reporters.
‘And we want there to be accountability for the system that gave the green light, so that other families don’t suffer the way that we have.
‘The reality, of course, is that in Palestine, our family’s grief is not unique. Shireen wasn’t even the first US citizen killed by Israel this year.’
The slain journalist’s brother, Tony Abu Akleh, sought a ‘meaningful action’ from Washington and slammed US President Joe Biden for failing to meet the family during his trip to Israel and the occupied West Bank earlier this month.
‘President Biden was 10 minutes away; he never came to see us, so we had to come here to Washington,’ he said.
‘President Biden still hasn’t agreed to meet us. We need him to hear from us directly, so that he understands the pain our family, and too many other Palestinians, have endured.’
Wearing press attire, 51-year-old Abu Akleh, a dual Palestinian-American citizen, was murdered in cold blood while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on May 11th, this year. Later, her funeral was also attacked by the regime forces.
Western media and leaders have been accused of turning a blind eye to the breach of international law by the apartheid Israeli regime in the occupied Palestinian territories.
On July 4th, the US State Department concluded its own investigation, finding the Israeli military was ‘likely responsible’ for the shooting.
It, however, said that ‘ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion’, eventually stating that her death was ‘the result of tragic circumstances’.
The family of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has renewed calls for an independent probe into her cold-blooded murder.
Eyewitnesses, journalists and rights activists have said there were no armed fighters in the immediate vicinity of Abu Akleh, or any exchange of fire at the time she was killed.
The July 4th statement outraged Abu Akleh’s family and Palestinian leaders who said that the United States is not seeking accountability from Israel over the death of the journalist.
Abu Akleh’s family unsuccessfully sought to meet Biden when he visited the occupied West Bank earlier this month. Her relatives had called for a meeting with Biden when he visited the occupied West Bank earlier this month, but the US president did not grant their request.
- The Israeli regime has transferred Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri to a higher-risk isolation prison facility following his recent letter to French President Emmanuel Macron.
Hammouri was classified as a prisoner ‘with a high degree of danger’ and transferred to an Israeli isolation prison facility called ‘Hadarim’ as a punishment for writing to the French president, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the Justice for Salah Campaign.
‘In the past 10 days, the Israeli occupation prison administration classified HRD and lawyer Salah Hammouri as ‘‘Sagav’’, which means a prisoner with a high degree of danger.
‘This entails excessive harassment with the use of hand and foot cuffs in addition to repeated night raids to the prisoner’s cell where forces turn everything upside-down,’ the campaign said in a statement.
The statement added that the Israeli regime had taken the punitive measure after Salah’s letter to Macron, ‘addressing him as a fellow French citizen, reminding him of his obligations as head of state to ensure his immediate release and end of persecution’.
‘Arbitrary classification and transfer are yet another measure of persecution against Salah and against anyone who tries to get their sounds heard,’ the statement stated.
Hammouri, 37, was arrested in March 2017. An Israeli military court sentenced him to administrative detention for defending Palestinian rights and accused him of endangering ‘security in the region’.
He has spent nearly nine years in Israeli jails in separate arrests. Hammouri was denied entry into the occupied city of West Bank for more than two years.
In November 2021, the Irish-based rights organisation Front Line Defenders, also known as the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, said in a report that six devices used by Palestinian rights activists ‘were hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware’. Hammouri was one of the six targeted individuals.
In April 2022, Hammouri and rights groups filed a complaint in France against surveillance firm NSO Group for having ‘illegally infiltrated’ his mobile phone.
Earlier last month, Israel extended the detention of the Palestinian lawyer for three more months, just one day before his planned release, pressing ahead with its so-called policy of administrative detention to keep Palestinians behind bars.
There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention. Some prisoners have been held without a charge for up to 11 years.
Palestinians and human rights groups say ‘administrative detention’ violates the right to due process since the evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.
The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as secret evidence.