Ambassador Tom Nides ‘encourages’ a full investigation into the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh amid calls for an independent investigation.
The US ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, has called for a “thorough investigation” into the murder of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Abu Akleh was fatal shot by Israeli forces on Wednesday while reporting on Israeli incursions into Jenin in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian authorities and witnesses. Another journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was also shot in the back. He is now in stable condition.
Nides was the first US official to comment on Abu Akleh’s killing, confirming in a tweet that the 51-year-old was a US citizen and a Palestinian, and said he was “sad to hear of his death.”
Very sad to hear of the death of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh from @AJArabic @AJEnglish. I encourage a full investigation into the circumstances of his death and the injuries of at least one other journalist today in Jenin.
— Ambassador Tom Nides (@USAmbIsrael) May 11, 2022
“I encourage a full investigation into the circumstances of his death and the injuries of at least one other journalist today in Jenin,” he said.
The statement comes as calls for an independent investigation into the killing have increased, with human rights groups accusing Israel of systematically failing to hold its forces accountable for regularly targeting journalists.
Palestinian authorities have rejected an Israeli offer to conduct a joint investigation.
The Israeli army has said Abu Akleh was shot during an exchange of fire and suggested that she may have been killed by Palestinian fighters.
The witnesses have rejected that early narrativesaying that there was no crossfire at the time of the shooting and that Abu Akleh and other journalists were in an exposed area wearing vests clearly marked with the word “PRESS” when they were attacked.
In a statement, Al Jazeera Media Network also called the killing of Abu Akleh “blatant murder” that it violated “international laws and norms”.
“Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and occupation forces responsible for Shireen’s murder,” he said.
Advocates have called on the US government, which calls itself the best friendand other close allies to build pressure after the assassination.
However, many see a significant change in relationships as unlikely.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mariam Barghouti, a Palestinian writer and researcher, dismissed Nides’ statement as “saving face and symbolism.”
“What that means is absolutely nothing,” he said. “The American representatives in Palestine do not safeguard human life, they do not even safeguard the lives of their citizens.”
Israel maintains broad support both within the administration of President Joe Biden and among US lawmakers, though a small group of elected officials have increasingly called on Washington to reassess their relationship.
In particular, critics have called for the US. condition about $3.8 billion in aid provides Israel each year on the fulfillment of human rights commitments.