The US president appeared to refuse a request to meet the family of the journalist killed during his visit to Israel and the occupation of the West Bank.
US President Joe Biden appears to have turned down a request from Shireen Abu Akleh’s Family will meet him during a visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank this week, as pressure mounts on the United States to ensure accountability for the killing of the journalist by Israeli forces.
The White House released a public schedule of Biden’s visit on Wednesday, and it did not include a meeting with relatives of the slain journalist Al Jazeera. The New York Times also report the beginning of the day that Biden “dodged” family needs for a meeting. Abu Akleh is an American citizen.
Before Biden landed in Israel on Wednesday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had invited Abu Akleh’s family to the US.
“Secretary Blinken actually spoke to the Shireen family not too long ago,” said Sullivan.
“He invited his family to the United States so he could sit down and interact with them in person. The administration, under the direction of the president, has been heavily involved in helping to try to determine exactly what happened around the tragic circumstances of her death.”
He added that Abu Akleh kills people “Will be one of the ongoing themes” of Biden’s talk in Israel. Sullivan also called for “accountability and making sure we find a way to just end this chapter.”
The White House did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment on whether Biden would be willing to meet his family in Washington, DC.
Abu Akleh’s family has highly appreciated Biden’s response to last week’s killing, accusing his administration of bleaching what it called the “unlawful killing” of the journalist by forces. Israel.
“We, the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, write to express our grief, indignation and feelings of betrayal regarding your government’s slow response to the killing of her by Israeli forces. our daughter and aunt on May 11, 2022, while on a mission in the occupied area. Palestinian city of Jenin in the West Bank,” family said in a letter to the president of the United States.
The letter urges Biden to meet with the family and push for meaningful accountability for the murder.
Last week, the US State Department acknowledged that the fatal bullet that hit Abu Akleh may have come from an Israeli military location, but it frame the murder journalists as “the result of tragic circumstances” unintentionally.
Although video footage, eyewitness testimony, and numerous investigations by independent media Media reports indicate that no armed Palestinians in the Abu Akleh area were killed.
On Tuesday, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a US-based watchdog, urged Biden to speak out about press freedom during his visit to the Middle East and allow Abu Akleh’s family to “request to meet the president during his trip he”.
Earlier this week, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez – two staunch pro-Israel Democratic US senators representing New Jersey where Abu Akleh is a registered resident – joined increasing calls in Congress on accountability in the killing of journalist Al Jazeera.
“We urge you to elevate the case of Ms. Abu Akleh to the highest level and emphasize accountability during your upcoming visit to Israel and the West Bank,” the senators wrote in a letter to to Biden.
“We also ask that the United States continue to engage in transparent and timely investigations of any new or residual evidence.”