Palestinian Authority slams US report branding Shireen Abu Akleh's death as 'unintentional'

Palestinian Authority slams US report branding Shireen Abu Akleh's death as 'unintentional'
3 min read
05 July, 2022
The Palestinian Authority's foreign ministry accused the US of whitewashing Israeli crimes after it released a report claiming the death of iconic journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was 'unintentional'
The report drew condemnation from Abu Akleh's family and rights groups across the world [Getty]

The Palestinian Authority lambasted a report by the United States State Department which dismissed the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as "unintentional".

The veteran Al-Jazeera journalist, who held Palestinian and American citizenship, was wearing a vest and helmet marked "Press" when she was killed on May 11.

She was  covering an Israeli army operation in Jenin camp in the northern West Bank.

The US State Department released a report on Monday saying Abu Akleh was likely killed by gunfire from Israeli positions but that there was no reason to believe her death was intentional.

The report drew condemnation from Abu Akleh's family and rights groups across the world. On Monday evening, the Palestinian Authority's foreign ministry accused the US of politicising its report and whitewashing Israel's targeting of journalists.

“No amount of vagueness or politicisation can exonerate the killers, whitewash the crime, or hide the truth,” the ministry said in a statement. 

“This whitewashing will only further institutionalise Israel's entrenched impunity, continue to deny the Palestinian people any justice, and threaten the safety and lives of journalists in Palestine. It will also have a negative impact on the safety of journalists worldwide.”

The ministry said it will continue to fight for justice for Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian victims by pursuing cases at the International Criminal Court, "to hold those who ordered and provide cover for this established trend of criminality accountable for their crimes.”

Earlier on Monday, Abu Akleh's family denounced the report and said that they will not give up on her case.

"We will continue to advocate for justice for Shireen, and to hold the Israeli military and government accountable, no matter the attempts to obfuscate the reality of what happened on May 11," they said in a statement.

A Palestinian probe after her killing said that an Israeli soldier shot her dead, along with multiple investigations that came to the same conclusion.

Several media outlets have also pointed to Israel in the killing, with a CNN report saying she appeared to have been targeted by Israeli forces.

New York Times investigation found that the bullet was fired from near the location of an Israeli military convoy, likely by a soldier from an elite unit, and noted there were no armed Palestinians in the area.

But the newspaper also did not ascertain whether the shooter targeted her personally or could see that she and her colleagues wore vests that identified them as journalists.

Israeli leaders have insisted that Israel would not target a journalist. Israel initially said she could have been killed by Palestinian gunfire but later backtracked after evidence began to surface.

Further inflaming tensions, baton-wielding Israeli police descended on mourners during her funeral and grabbed Palestinian flags, with the pallbearers struggling not to drop her casket.