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Lina Abu Akleh

Lina Abu Akleh speaks about her aunt, Shireen Abu Akleh—the Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter killed by Israeli occupation forces in May—during a September 1, 2022 National Press Club event. (Photo: National Press Club/YouTube screen grab)

Shireen Abu Akleh's Niece Decries Biden's Failure to Hold Israel Accountable

Lina Abu Akleh said it is "disappointing and frustrating" that "there hasn't been any meaningful action" taken in pursuit of justice for the slain Palestinian-American journalist.

Brett Wilkins

The niece of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist shot dead by Israeli occupation forces in May, spoke out Thursday against U.S. President Joe Biden's failure to hold her aunt's killers accountable.

"Most importantly, he isn't upholding the values that he continues to preach."

Speaking at a National Press Club news conference in Washington, D.C., Lina Abu Akleh renewed calls for the Biden administration to launch a "thorough, independent, transparent investigation" into the May 11 killing of her aunt.

Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old veteran reporter for Al Jazeera, was covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the illegally occupied West Bank when she was fatally shot in the head, despite wearing a helmet and vest identifying her as press. Israel subsequently blamed the attack on Palestinian militants before walking back the allegation.

Lina Abu Akleh said "it's been disappointing and frustrating" that "there hasn't been any meaningful action" taken to ensure justice for her aunt.

"It's been almost four months now with no accountability and no action from the U.S. administration," she lamented.

Referring to Biden, Abu Akleh added that "he still has not taken action, he continues to ignore the importance of this case, and most importantly, he isn't upholding the values that he continues to preach."

Biden was criticized for failing to press Israel on Abu Akleh's killing and Saudi Arabia on the gruesome murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi—a permanent U.S. resident—during his July trip to the Middle East.

The president has also declined to speak with Abu Akleh's relatives. After meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in late July, Lina Abu Akleh said her family is "still waiting to see if this administration will meaningfully answer our calls for justice for Shireen."

Investigations by international media outlets, rights groups, the United Nations Human Rights Office, and others concluded that Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire. In a move critics condemned as a "whitewash" of the killing, the Biden administration said in July that Abu Akleh was "likely" but unintentionally shot by an Israeli soldier.

Lina Abu Akleh implored journalists to keep covering her aunt's story and her family's pursuit of justice.

"It's very important that journalists continue to speak about Shireen because she was a journalist herself," she said, "and it's important that they press on the U.S. administration to take a more serious role and take action."


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