US, Israel Criticized by Hadash Over Abu Akleh Killing

Hadash is criticizing the US for saying that the alleged shooting of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli occupation troops was “the result of tragic circumstances,” calling the State Department’s conclusion a form of whitewashing. US State Department spokesman Ned Price issued a statement on Monday stating that the “U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.” The statement added that “the USSC concluded that gunfire from Israeli army positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.  The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional.”

Thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem mourn the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a prominent Al Jazeera journalist who was shot in the head by Israeli occupation forces on May 12, 2022 (Photo: Activestills)

Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) says in a statement that she will keep fighting to see those responsible for Abu Akleh’s death brought to justice, “from the soldier who squeezed the trigger to the politicians responsible for the policies and for hiding the truth.” Also, Joint List leader, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) criticized the findings of the US investigation, “Even the U.S. Department of Defense joins a long line of investigations and states that Shireen was shot by soldiers. Distortion of the findings in the Israeli media is a rendering of the rendering and an attempt to prevent the shooter’s prosecution.” It says the US should treat the killing as a crime and seek justice.

According the B’Tselem human rights organization “All investigations published so far conclude that Israel is responsible for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. It is not clear on what grounds does the US State Department seek to dismiss her killing.” Yesh Din, another Israeli human rights group, says of the US announcement: “Shows once again why there is no trust in the Israeli army spokesman or the army, which rushed to say that the bullet was not Israeli.” It calls for an independent international probe.

The Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hussein al-Sheikh, stressed in reaction to a statement issued by Price that “We will not allow attempts to conceal the truth or to have shy references in pointing the finger of accusation to Israel.” “The occupation government bears responsibility for the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh, and we will continue our procedures at the international courts,” he said in a tweet.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said yesterday that the report of the American experts on the killing of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli occupation forces is biased and unprofessional. In a statement, the union said “the experts deviated from their professional role to come up with a political security report aimed at evading Israel’s responsibility for targeting Shireen Abu Akleh and her deliberate assassination so that the occupation would not be held accountable for its crime against a Palestinian journalist, in addition to being an American citizen.” It explained that the US report legitimizes the killing of Palestinian journalists and justifies Israel’s crimes against journalists, considering it as very dangerous because it cancels international protection for Palestinian journalists working in the Palestinian territories.

It affirmed its confidence in the report of the Palestinian Attorney General in the case of the assassination of Abu Akleh as well as the United Nations report and a number of important international media investigations, including prominent American media organizations, as well as eyewitnesses’ testimonies who confirmed the assassination of Abu Akleh by the Israeli occupation forces.

The union noted that it is proceeding to the end with the partners, led by the International Federation of Journalists, in its judicial procedures at the International Criminal Court against the Israeli army commanders, its government and the perpetrators of the crime so that they receive their punishment in accordance with international law.