05.20.22

Statement On The Death Of Shireen Abu Akleh

. . . . Congressional Record

Mr. LEAHY.  I join Secretary Blinken in calling for a thorough, impartial investigation of the tragic death of widely respected Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, in the Jenin refugee camp on May 4th.  According to press reports, Israel has already launched an investigation.  Some Members of Congress have called for the FBI to be involved.  I echo that recommendation. The investigation will also require the participation of Palestinian authorities.  Too often, shootings of unarmed civilians in the occupied territories have gone unpunished.  This must not be one of those cases. 

In addition, Israeli authorities must hold accountable those who were responsible for, and participated in, the chaos that erupted during Ms. Abu Akleh’s funeral procession, when Israeli police beat mourners with batons, including the pallbearers, causing them to momentarily drop one end of the casket.  The explanation provided by Israeli police officials, that mourners had been chanting nationalist slogans and waving Palestinian flags, in no way justifies their lack of judgment, disrespect, and use of unnecessary force in what should have been a solemn, peaceful procession deserving of their protection.

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