Shaheen Joins Call for Direct U.S. Involvement in the Investigation of Shooting Death of American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

June 23, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and 22 Senate colleagues to call upon President Biden to ensure the direct involvement of the United States in the investigation of the shooting death of American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. In their letter to the President – who is planning to visit Israel and the West Bank in mid-July – the lawmakers stress the importance of an independent, thorough and transparent investigation and underscore the need for U.S. involvement to ensure that all parties have confidence in the findings. 

“It has now been over a month since American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot to death while reporting on an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. Since that time, there has been no significant progress toward the establishment of an independent, thorough, and transparent investigation into her killing. We believe that, as a leader in the effort to protect the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists, and given the fact that Ms. Abu Akleh was an American citizen, the U.S. government has an obligation to ensure that a comprehensive, impartial, and open investigation into her shooting death is conducted — one in which all parties can have full confidence in the ultimate findings,” wrote the Senators.

“It is clear that neither of the parties on the ground trust the other to conduct a credible and independent investigation. Therefore, at this point, we believe the only way to achieve that goal is for the United States to be directly involved in investigating Ms. Abu Akleh’s death. Last month, 57 members of the House of Representatives requested that the State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launch an independent investigation under U.S auspices to determine the truth. We join in that request, which has been made even more urgent by the new information that has emerged in recent weeks,” they continue.

“In order to protect freedom of the press, a thorough and transparent investigation under U.S. auspices must be conducted to get to the truth and provide accountability for the killing of this American citizen and journalist,” the Senators conclude.

In addition to Shaheen and Van Hollen, the letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). 

The full text of the letter is available here and below.