A US senator has demanded that the Biden administration release a government report on the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, said on Monday that he had seen the report by the US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC), which he had requested from the State Department weeks ago.
But he said he wanted it to be made public “in its entirety”.
“I strongly believe that its public release is vital to ensuring transparency and accountability in the shooting death of American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and to avoiding future preventable and wrongful deaths — goals we should all support,” he said in a statement.
Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American correspondent, was killed on May 11, 2022, while reporting on an Israeli raid in Jenin, a city in the occupied West Bank.
Initially, Israeli officials falsely blamed Palestinian gunmen for Abu Akleh’s death before admitting months later that she was likely killed by an Israeli soldier.
However, Israel has dismissed the incident as unintentional and has not opened a criminal probe into the killing — prompting calls for the US, a staunch Israeli ally, to conduct its own investigation and seek accountability in the case.
Van Hollen said on Monday that the USSC, which oversees and encourages security coordination between Israeli and Palestinian officials, was not granted access to key witnesses and was “unable to conduct an independent investigation” into the killing.
Still, he said the report provides “very important insights” into the incident, including on the Israeli unit involved in the operation that led to Abu Akleh’s death, “as well as other [Israeli military] units operating in the West Bank”.
The report is described as a “summation” document on other investigations of the incident.
In July 2022, the State Department cited an initial USSC summary of the probes conducted by Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which said that Israeli gunfire was “likely responsible” for Abu Akleh’s death, though it found no reason to believe the shooting was intentional.