The family of the martyred Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh criticised the United States State Department investigations conclusion on Monday, that Israeli military gunfire was only likely responsible for Abu Akleh’s death, and forensic analysis supported no reason to believe that the shooting was intentional.
Despite wearing a flak jacket and a helmet clearly marked press, Abu Akleh was shot in the head while covering an Israeli military raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
Lina Abu Akleh, niece of Shireen confirms her aunt was killed intentionally.
“The entire investigation is disappointing considering the fact we [were] not aware of any of the process; there was no transparency. We were not given enough information regarding the investigation and we found out about it last minute,” she told Al Jazeera from Geneva.
The bullet that killed Abu Akleh was fired by Israeli forces, according to material acquired by the United Nations human rights office, which was reported last month. According to several witnesses and investigations conducted independently by Palestinian authorities, international human rights organisations, and media sources led to the conclusion that Abu Akleh was assassinated by Israeli forces.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday that “independent” examiners had undertaken an “extremely detailed forensic analysis” of the bullet that killed Abu Akleh after it was handed over by the Palestinian Authority. The State Department said that it could not reach a conclusive determination since the bullet was too badly damaged, and there was “no reason to believe” Abu Akleh was deliberately targeted, while it was likely fired by Israeli forces.
“From day one, Israel has been trying to change the narrative, and using the bullet has been one of their many narratives. But this is not the end,” Lina Abu Akleh said.
Irrespective of the probe’s finding, Abu Akleh’s family said that they will continue to fight for justice and accountability for her killing, her niece said.
“It’s very disappointing but at the same time, it’s not discouraging. We will continue to fight for justice. We will continue to fight for accountability and an end to this impunity because this result, that we received today, just adds on to the impunity that Israel enjoys,” she said to Al Jazeera.
“But we will not be discouraged and we will continue on our path for justice and accountability.”
In order to guarantee that justice is served and those guilty of the murder are held accountable, Lina Abu Akleh also stated that the media and larger civil society had a role to play.