Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Justice for Shireen banner

A woman drapes a traditional scarf on a banner calling for justice for Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on May 15, 2022. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel Refuses to Cooperate With US Probe Into Palestinian-American Journalist's Killing

Israeli officials condemned the FBI investigation, while Shireen Abu Akleh's family expressed hope that the probe will lead to accountability for those responsible.

Julia Conley

The family of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh expressed hope Tuesday that the FBI's newly announced investigation into her death will bring them "closer to justice," as Israeli officials said they will not cooperate with the FBI and condemned the U.S. for opening a probe at all.

Israeli Foreign Minister Benny Gantz suggested the Biden administration should accept the "professional, independent investigation" already conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which concluded that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank in May was too damaged to determine who had fired it.

"We hope that the United States will use all of the investigative tools at its disposal to get answers about Shireen's killing."

A U.S.-led forensic and ballistic investigation found in July that an IDF soldier had likely unintentionally fired the bullet, while the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concluded that "the shots that killed Abu Akleh... came from Israeli Security Forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians."

An independent probe in September by the U.K.-based group Forensic Architecture and the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq determined that Israeli forces intentionally killed Abu Akleh.

"I have delivered a message to U.S. representatives that we stand by the IDF's soldiers, that we will not cooperate with an external investigation, and will not enable intervention to internal investigations," Gantz said in a statement.

Former Israeli Foreign Ministry chief of staff Yaki Dayan told The Washington Post that the probe is "more than a grave mistake; it's an outrage."

"It's basically a vote of no confidence on Israel," Dayan said.

Writer and researcher Abdullah Shihipar noted in response to the outcry that "governments get involved whenever their citizens are killed overseas."

Abu Akleh was killed while reporting from the city of Jenin during a military crackdown by the IDF.

Her family filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court in September, and has repeatedly called on the Biden administration to investigate.

"It is what the United States should do when a U.S. citizen is killed abroad, especially when they are killed, like Shireen, by a foreign military," said Lina Abu Akleh, the journalist's niece, on Tuesday. "We hope that the United States will use all of the investigative tools at its disposal to get answers about Shireen's killing and hold those who are responsible for this atrocity accountable."

At Haaretz, Ben Samuels wrote on Tuesday that the FBI's decision to open an investigation—following calls from progressive lawmakers as well as the Abu Akleh family—represents "a milestone in a truly unprecedented pressure campaign from Democratic members of Congress pushing a Democratic administration to take a firm stance against Israel."

On Monday, 19 House Democrats including Reps. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) introduced the Justice for Shireen Act, which would require a report by the U.S. State Department, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the National Director of Intelligence about Abu Akleh's killing.

Tlaib called the FBI probe "long overdue" and expressed hope that it would be the "first step towards real accountability."

"To be clear—the Abu Akleh family should never have had to fight for justice or to get an investigation into her murder," said the congresswoman, who is also Palestinian-American. "I urge the FBI and the Justice Department to take every step possible to ensure that this investigation is conducted in a transparent, credible, and unbiased manner."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·

Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·

Betrayal of Railway Workers Ignites Working-Class Fury Toward Biden and Democrats

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic," said one rail leader. "Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class 1 rail carriers every time."

Jessica Corbett ·

With GOP House Control Looming, Pascrell Calls for Swift Release of Trump Tax Records

"Donald Trump tried to hide his tax returns from our oversight but after 1,329 days we have finally obtained the documents," said the New Jersey Democrat. "We should review and release them."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo