US president seems to rebuff request for assembly with slain journalist’s household throughout go to to Israel and occupied West Financial institution.
US President Joe Biden seems to have rejected a request by Shireen Abu Akleh’s family to fulfill with him throughout his go to to Israel and the occupied West Financial institution this week, as stress mounts on the USA to make sure accountability for the journalist’s killing by Israeli forces.
The White Home launched a public schedule of Biden’s go to on Wednesday, and it didn’t embrace a gathering with the slain Al Jazeera journalist’s relations. The New York Instances additionally reported earlier within the day that Biden has “sidestepped” the family’s demand for a gathering. Abu Akleh was an American citizen.
Earlier than Biden landed in Israel on Wednesday, US Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan informed reporters that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had invited Abu Akleh’s household to the US.
“Secretary Blinken truly spoke with Shireen’s household a short time in the past,” Sullivan mentioned.
“He has invited the household to the USA to have the ability to sit down and have interaction with them immediately. The administration, on the president’s course, has been very a lot engaged in serving to attempt to decide what precisely occurred across the tragic circumstances of her loss of life.”
He added that Abu Akleh’s killing “will probably be one of many topics at play” throughout Biden’s talks in Israel. Sullivan additionally known as for “accountability and ensuring that we discover a strategy to conclude this chapter justly”.
The White Home didn’t reply to Al Jazeera’s request for touch upon whether or not Biden can be keen to fulfill the household in Washington, DC.
Abu Akleh’s household berated Biden’s response to the killing final week, accusing his administration of whitewashing what it known as “the extrajudicial killing” of the journalist by Israeli forces.
“We, the household of Shireen Abu Akleh, write to specific our grief, outrage and sense of betrayal regarding your administration’s abject response to the extrajudicial killing of our sister and aunt by Israeli forces on Might 11, 2022, whereas on task within the occupied Palestinian metropolis of Jenin within the West Financial institution,” the family said in a letter to the US president.
The letter known as on Biden to fulfill the household and push for significant accountability for the killing.
Final week, the State Division acknowledged that the deadly bullet that struck Abu Akleh probably got here from an Israeli military place, but it surely framed the killing of the journalist because the unintentional “results of tragic circumstances”.
Though video footage, witness testimonies, and a number of investigations by independent media shops have proven that there have been no armed Palestinians within the space the place Abu Akleh was killed, the US assertion emphasised the context of the Israeli raid and taking pictures as a response to “a collection of terrorist assaults in Israel”.
On Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a US-based watchdog, known as on Biden to talk out on press freedom throughout his go to to the Center East and grant the Abu Akleh household’s “request to fulfill with the president throughout his journey”.
Earlier this week, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez – two staunchly pro-Israel Democratic US senators who characterize New Jersey the place Abu Akleh was a registered resident – joined the growing calls in Congress for accountability within the Al Jazeera journalist’s killing.
“We urge you to boost Ms. Abu Akleh’s case on the highest ranges and press for accountability throughout your upcoming go to to Israel and the West Financial institution,” the senators wrote in a letter to Biden.
“We additionally ask for continued US participation in clear and well timed investigations into any remaining or new proof.”