It has been over a year since the brutal killing of renowned Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank town of Jenin. Shireen was fatally shot by an Israeli soldier on May 11, 2022, while covering an Israeli military raid at a refugee camp.
We still need justice for Shireen.
Members of Congress Call for Accountability
At a press conference on May 18, Rep. Andre Carson (IN-07) announced the re-introduction of the Justice for Shireen Act (H.R.3477). This legislation would require the State Department and the FBI to investigate and report on her death to determine who was responsible and whether U.S.-made weapons were used in the shooting. The bill is a crucial step towards finally getting accountability for this terrible attack on the free press.
In his remarks, Rep. Carson pressed his colleagues in the House and Senate to support his bill, saying: “We must ensure no taxpayer dollars result in human rights violations.”
In the year since Shireen was killed, the demand for accountability has gained significant support in Congress. A bipartisan group of more than 100 lawmakers signed letters in support of a U.S.-led investigation. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD) has also called for the release of an unredacted report by the United States Security Coordinator to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to Congress.
While the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) recently expressed regret for Shireen’s death, the IDF stopped short of apologizing for her killing. Its leadership has refused to take responsibility and failed to hold anyone accountable.
Part of a Larger Pattern of Abuse
Tragically, this is not an isolated incident but rather part of a larger pattern of human rights abuses against Palestinians and violations of press freedom by Israeli soldiers. The Committee to Protect Journalists recently released a report showing that Israeli soldiers have killed at least 20 journalists over the past 22 years. No prosecutions or other accountability measures have been taken in response to any of these fatalities. This blatant disregard for human rights and international law is deeply concerning.
At the May 18 event, Sherif Mansour from the Committee to Protect Journalists said, “We want to make sure that the U.S. government continues to raise publicly with Israeli counterparts the rules of engagements so we don’t see any future killings of journalists, and we can end impunity in journalists’ deaths by the IDF.”
Remember Shireen with Action
Shireen dedicated her life to uplifting the voices of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Her killing remains an unresolved injustice. The introduction of the Justice for Shireen Act marks a significant step forward. It’s critical that members of the House and Senate support this bill and work to see it signed into law.
As we remember Shireen and her unwavering commitment to telling the stories of Palestinians, we must continue to work to ensure that Congress and the Administration act to prevent future violations of human rights and attacks on members of the press. In so doing, we can honor her memory and hopefully—finally—get justice and accountability for her death.