On May 11 - 100 days ago - Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist wearing a flak jacket with the word PRESS clearly marked, was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. She was an American citizen, but so far the U.S. government has made no effort to identify and hold anyone accountable for her killing. On July 28, Rep. André Carson announced that he will introduce legislation requiring the U.S. to determine who killed her and whether U.S. assistance was used, and to make that information public.
Media outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, have conducted extensive investigations and all concluded that Shireen Abu Akleh was likely killed by Israeli soldiers. On July 4, the State Department announced the results of a limited analysis, concluding only that Shireen Abu Akleh was likely killed by fire from Israeli positions, but making no assessment of responsibility. The Abu Akleh family expressed hope that the FBI might “open a murder investigation, much like they do in ordinary cases when American citizens are killed abroad.” After meeting with the family on July 26, Secretary of State Blinken expressed a “commitment to pursue accountability”.
Over 100 members of Congress have signed letters calling for a transparent and thorough investigation that results in accountability for those found responsible for killing Shireen Abu Akleh, and President Biden called for a “full and transparent accounting” of her death when he was in the region. The Justice for Shireen Act will provide that accounting.
Israeli soldiers operate with virtual impunity in the West Bank. They have killed over 30 journalists since the year 2000, and 60 Palestinians during just the first half of this year. The Justice for Shireen Act is a first step toward providing some accountability.
Kyle Cristofalo Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations Churches for Middle East Peace
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) 110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 311 Washington, District of Columbia 20002 (202) 543-1222 firstname.lastname@example.org