J Street welcomes Senator Chris Van Hollen’s letter, released today and signed by 24 Democratic Senators, calling for an independent US investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to be led by the US State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation. With 24 out of 50 Senate Democrats adding their name, the signers constitute nearly half of the Senate Democratic caucus.
“An American citizen was killed in the Occupied West Bank and because of a stalemate between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, there has been minimal accountability for her killing,” said J Street’s Vice President of Public Affairs Kevin Rachlin. “The letter calls for the only just and sensible solution – an independent US investigation into the death of its own citizen to ensure full accountability for those responsible.”
The full text of the letter and its signers can be found here.
“We believe that, as a leader in the effort to protect the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists, and given the fact that Ms. Abu Akleh was an American citizen, the U.S. government has an obligation to ensure that a comprehensive, impartial, and open investigation into her shooting death is conducted – one in which all parties can have full confidence in the ultimate findings,” the signers write.
The Senate letter follows a May House letter led by Congressmen Carson, Correa, and Pascrell and signed by 57 representatives, which also called for an independent US investigation. In addition, Senators Jon Ossoff and Mitt Romney have issued their own call for a “full and transparent investigation.”
J Street called for an independent US investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh immediately following her death last month, which came as she was reporting on an IDF raid and clash with armed militants in the city of Jenin in the Occupied West Bank.