In the United States, the State Department has called for an investigation. “It’s important to us. It is important to the world that that investigation is thorough, that it is comprehensive, that it is transparent and, most importantly, that investigations end with full accountability and that those responsible for her death are held accountable,” said Ned Price, a department spokesperson. last month. In the House of Representatives, 57 Democrats signed a letter to the Secretary of State and the head of the FBI demanding that they conduct their own investigation and urging them “to uphold the values on which our nation is founded, including human rights, equality for all. and freedom of expression.” The letter continued, “We have a duty to protect Americans who report abroad.”
DailyExpertNews and other news organizations have started their own investigation. After reviewing video footage, witness statements and audio forensic analysis of the gunshots, DailyExpertNews reported that the evidence suggested that “Abu Akleh was shot dead in a targeted attack by Israeli forces.” The witnesses and videos, it said, provided new evidence “that there was no active fighting nor Palestinian militants near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death.”
Israel reacted sharply. Speaking to the World Economic Forum in Davos on May 25, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog rejected the report, saying it was based on “fake facts.”
That just makes it all the more important to get completely accurate accounts, and the best possible way to establish those facts would be an independent investigation conducted by a group with American, Israeli and Palestinian participation.
On May 20, the Israeli ambassador to the United States said in a statement that Israel has “called from the outset for an impartial joint Israeli-Palestinian investigation with the US in an observer role.”
Independence in this research would certainly be quite a challenge. The Palestinians, convinced that Israel would try to condone the killing, stated from the outset that they would not cooperate with any Israeli investigation. In Israel, which has faced unilateral condemnations by the United Nations and other international bodies for decades, there is a deep mistrust of any outside investigation. And Israel’s political right is not friendly to investigative forces.
While the questions surrounding Ms. Abu Akleh’s death may be difficult to answer, that is no excuse for ignoring them. Reporters are aware of the dangers inherent in covering armed conflict, and they know that militaries do not like their violent missions subjected to public scrutiny. But the work of journalists is essential to public accountability for the actions of each country’s military. Journalists cannot do their job if they are attacked by a party with impunity in a conflict. Even if she wasn’t singled out, Israel still has to grapple with how this happened and what can be done to prevent similar tragedies.