US Legislators Call on Palestinian Authority to Release Forensic Evidence Connected to Fatal Shooting of Al Jazeera Journalist
A bipartisan group of US legislators has called on the Palestinian Authority to provide access to forensic evidence connected with the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh — a Palestinian-American journalist for the Al Jazeera network who was shot dead while reporting on an Israeli raid in the West Bank last month.
“We urge you to ask the Palestinian Authority to provide access to the forensic evidence in Abu Akleh’s death for an independent investigation, so that all parties can reach a definitive conclusion about the events leading to her death, and hold all parties accountable,” the members of the US Congress stated in a letter sent on Friday to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The letter argued that “recent sensationalist media accounts of the incident have not served the cause of truth. Only an independent investigation can resolve this situation, and provide solace to the families and all parties.” It expressed dissatisfaction that the PA “was quick to ‘reject and refuse the participation of any Israelis in this kind of investigation.'”
The letter continued: “Without access to the bullet that the Israelis have requested as part of an independent investigation, it is impossible to determine all the facts. This obstinate position serves no one, and will preclude any final determination of responsibility. One-sided releases of information will not get us closer to the truth.”
Among the letters signatories were Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA) and Elaine Luria (D-VA).
Israel’s government initially suggested that Palestinian gunfire might have resulted in the death of Abu Akleh, an experienced correspondent who had covered Middle East affairs for more than 20 years. However, officials also said they could not rule out the possibility that Israeli gunfire that killed her, as the investigation is ongoing. Palestinian authorities described Abu Akleh’s killing as an assassination by Israeli forces, and have rejected Israeli efforts to conduct a joint probe to determine culpability.