September 27, 2022

Washington, DC – Hours after Israeli forces fatally shot Shireen Abu Akleh in Might, the US Division of State referred to as for the veteran Al Jazeera journalist’s killers to be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the regulation”.

Months later, after Israel mentioned this week that there’s a “excessive risk” that considered one of its troopers killed Abu Akleh, United States officers have redefined the which means of accountability within the case.

The Biden administration now’s calling on Israel to evaluation its insurance policies to mitigate civilian hurt, successfully dropping its earlier demand for punishing these accountable for the killing of Abu Akleh, who was an American citizen.

“It’s a really embarrassing response by the US administration. It simply exhibits at this level that they’re doing their finest to cowl up and simply shut the case,” Lina Abu Akleh, the slain journalist’s niece, informed Al Jazeera in an interview on Tuesday.

Lina, who has been advocating for justice for her aunt, added that “the definition of accountability” has modified for Washington as a result of Abu Akleh was a Palestinian American who was killed by Israel.

“This simply goes on to indicate the bias and their lack of dedication to accountability and to their very own values,” she mentioned of the US administration.

US ‘accountability’

Abu Akleh’s killing on Might 11 has sparked worldwide outrage and calls from her household and press freedom advocates for an unbiased investigation.

Prime US officers, together with President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, additionally had referred to as for “accountability” when requested concerning the case.

On Tuesday, State Division Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel was pressed by reporters on Washington’s about-face on the which means of accountability, however he stored repeating that the administration would stress Israel to reassess its guidelines of engagement going ahead.

“The position we’re persevering with to play is urgent Israel to carefully evaluation its insurance policies and practices to make sure that one thing like this doesn’t occur once more,” Patel mentioned.

When requested what “accountability” meant, he mentioned once more: “We’re persevering with to press Israel to evaluation its insurance policies and practices.” Patel reiterated a variation of that assertion seven occasions throughout Tuesday’s information briefing.

Lina Abu Akleh referred to as Patel’s efforts “to deflect” from the problem “shameful”, slamming Washington’s obvious incapacity “to outline what accountability seems to be like”.

In the meantime, the Israeli authorities on Monday launched a report saying that there’s a “excessive risk” that considered one of its troopers shot Abu Akleh, however dismissed the killing as “unintended”, ruling out the opening of a felony probe into the incident.

Israel initially had falsely blamed Palestinian fighters for the killing of Abu Akleh, who was overlaying an Israeli raid within the occupied West Financial institution however was not standing within the fast neighborhood of the preventing when she was fatally shot.

Video footage, a number of witnesses and a number of investigations by unbiased media retailers present that there have been no armed Palestinians within the space the place Abu Akleh and different journalists have been standing earlier than Israeli troopers began firing at them.

Lina Abu Akleh pressured that the killing of her aunt was intentional, noting that the shot that killed her was “so exact” that it hit the small space between her helmet and protecting vest.

“We all know that there was steady hearth at her and her colleagues even after they made themselves identified, however she was nonetheless shot,” Lina Abu Akleh mentioned. “Let’s not neglect that 16 bullets have been fired in the direction of their course.”

The youthful Abu Akleh and her kinfolk have been main requires a US-led investigation into the killing, a requirement that has discovered receptive ears within the halls of Congress. However Biden administration officers have dismissed the demandstressing that Israel can examine its personal army.

‘She simply beloved life’

Lina Abu Akleh mentioned though Washington seems prepared to show the web page, the household will proceed to struggle for justice through all of the doable avenues, together with the Worldwide Felony Courtroom.

She additionally referred to as on US reporters to maintain pressuring the Biden administration for an unbiased investigation to make sure accountability for the killing of a fellow journalist.

“It’s straightforward to lose hope once you see the shortage of motion from the US, from the worldwide group — the truth that there aren’t any investigations,” she informed Al Jazeera. “However it’s additionally encouraging after I see that now we have the help of many members of Congress on the Hill. We have now the help of thousands and thousands of individuals from all world wide.

“It’s been 4 months, and persons are nonetheless supporting our triggersupporting our struggle for justice for Shireen. In order that does fill me with some sense of hope, and it’s what pushes me and my household to proceed our struggle for justice.”

Lina Abu Akleh mentioned amid this push for accountability, nonetheless, the household has not been capable of grieve and course of the lack of their relative.

“She was my solely aunt,” Lina Abu Akleh mentioned. “We’re a really small household of six, so it’s very upsetting that she is now not with us. We misplaced her too quickly. She simply beloved life. She all the time made me really feel higher. She was all the time there to console me, to information me.”

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