US will not re-open probe into Israeli shooting of Al Jazeera journalist
Joe Biden avoided meeting with Shireen Abu Aqla's family during his trip to Palestine, as senior officials say the White House is 'satisfied' with their inconclusive probe into the murder
By News Desk - July 23 2022

Israeli shock troops attack pallbearers during the funeral procession of murdered Palestinian-American reporter Shireen Abu Aqla in occupied East Jerusalem. (Photo credit: AP)

The government of US President Joe Biden will not open a new investigation into the murder of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqla by an Israeli sniper, a US official who spoke with The Times of Israel revealed.

“I would not anticipate an independent US investigation,” an unnamed senior government official was quoted as saying on 23 July.

This revelation comes just over a week after Joe Biden visited the occupied territories.

During that visit, Biden avoided meeting with Abu Aqla’s family, despite the family’s public request in which they spoke of their “grief, outrage and sense of betrayal concerning [the Biden] administration’s abject response to the extrajudicial killing.”

Over a dozen US lawmakers have been lobbying Washington to conduct their own independent probe, calling on the relevant authorities to directly gather evidence and question those involved in the deadly shooting.

Earlier this month, several other lawmakers demanded that the FBI determine whether US weapons were used in the killing of Abu Aqla.

Senior Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqla was shot and killed by Israeli forces on 11 May while covering a raid in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. At the time of her death, she was wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest clearly labeled PRESS.

In the hours following the murder, her colleagues revealed in no uncertain terms that Israeli troops opened fire on them indiscriminately, even preventing the team of journalists from approaching the body.

After a thorough investigation of the events, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) confirmed that the bullet that killed Abu Aqla was fired by Israeli troops.

“All information we have gathered … is consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Aqla and injured her colleague, Ali Sammoudi, came from Israeli security forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians,” OHCHR spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on 24 June.

However, on 4 July, the US State Department published the results of their forensic investigation into the bullet – which included Israeli oversight during the process.

The investigators claimed “no definitive conclusion” on the origin of the bullet, suggesting that gunfire from Israeli positions was “likely responsible.”

They added that there is “no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances.”

Abu Aqla’s family described these findings as “insulting to Shireen’s memory,” and said they ignored “the history and context of the brutal and violent nature of what is now the longest military occupation in modern history.”

Regardless of this, the senior US official who spoke with The Times of Israel said the Biden White House was “satisfied” with the investigation led by US Security Coordinator in Jerusalem General Mike Fenzel.

According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, at least 55 Palestinian journalists have been killed in Israel since 2000, with no one ever being held responsible.

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