US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz to expedite the investigation into the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh so that the results can be made public.
The diplomatic correspondent of Israel’s Walla News, Barak Ravid, quoted two informed sources on Monday as saying that the US administration is under pressure from Democrat members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to take further steps to reveal the circumstances surrounding Abu Akleh’s murder. According to the sources, Blinken spoke by phone with Gantz on Saturday and asked when the Israeli army is expected to conclude its “operational investigation” into Abu Akleh’s killing and publish its final results.
“Blinken has urged Gantz to expedite the investigation procedures, and stressed the need to complete the investigation as soon as possible and refer its conclusions to both the US administration and the Abu Akleh family,” the sources added.
Gantz apparently assured Blinken that the investigation’s final results will be published “within a few weeks”. He noted that the army had only announced the “preliminary investigation” results which concluded that “it was not possible” to determine who shot Abu Akleh.
The sources pointed out that Blinken met Abu Akleh’s family two days before his phone call with Gantz. Family members want more information about her killing.
According to Walla News, the US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, met with the Israeli Minister of Public Security, Omer Bar-Lev, during his visit to Washington last weekend. She asked him about “the reason behind the delay to complete the investigation and publish its results.”
Israel had initially claimed that its soldiers did not shoot Abu Akleh, who was covering an army incursion of the city of Jenin when she was shot in the head while wearing full protective clothing identifying her clearly as a journalist. Moreover, the army actually claimed that Palestinian gunmen had shot her.
However, independent investigations by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem and CNN among others came to the identical conclusion: the bullet that killed Abu Akleh came from the same location where Israeli army snipers were deployed.