Democratic senator calls for report on Palestinian American journalist's death to be made public

 June 7, 2023

A Democratic senator made headlines this week when he called for the report on a Palestinian American journalist's death to be made public.

According to the Washington Examiner, Shireen Abu Akleh died in May of last year after sustaining a fatal gunshot wound in the West Bank city of Jenin.

State Department says it is "likely" shot was fired by an Israeli soldier

Akleh was covering an Israeli raid, and a State Department investigation of her killing found that it was likely the result of a stray Israeli bullet.

However, State Department spokesman Ned Price acknowledged that investigators could not definitively say who fired the fatal shot.

"After an extremely detailed forensic analysis, independent, third-party examiners, as part of a process overseen by the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion," Price said in a statement.

"In addition to the forensic and ballistic analysis, the USSC was granted full access to both Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian Authority (PA) investigations over the last several weeks," the spokesman explained.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen calls for report to be made public

"By summarizing both investigations, the USSC concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh," he continued.

"The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad on May 11, 2022, in Jenin, which followed a series of terrorist attacks in Israel," Price stressed.

That isn't good enough for Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who on Monday asked the Biden administration to make the full report publicly available.

Van Hollen: Declassifying report "vital to ensuring transparency and accountability"

"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," Van Hollen declared.

"In the aftermath of the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, Secretary Blinken has asked the Government of Israel to review the [military] rules of engagement in the West Bank, but he has been rebuffed — such a review remains necessary," he recalled.

"Following my viewing of the USSC report, I urge the Administration to immediately declassify it in its entirety," Van Hollen insisted.

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