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US investigation into Shireen Abu Akleh branded whitewash that allows Israeli to kill with impunity

ISRAELI human rights group B’Tselem labelled a US investigation into the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh a whitewash today after it said her killing was unintentional.

“All investigations published so far conclude that Israel is responsible for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh,” it said in a statement. 

It is not clear on what grounds the US State Department seeks to dismiss her killing as “the result of tragic circumstances” and not as a crime for which those responsible should be held to account,” the human rights group added. 

It was responding to the US State Department findings which were announced on Monday and concluded that Ms Abu Akleh had been killed by “unintentional gunfire” from Israeli positions. 

Independent investigators were unable to make a “definitive conclusion” on the origin of the bullet that killed her, a statement said, prompting outrage from her family and supporters. 

Ms Abu Akleh’s sister Lina Abu Akleh said the family was incredulous but “will continue to call for justice and accountability,” calling on the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to take immediate action.

The Palestinian Authority rejected the US findings and said it further institutionalises Israel’s entrenched impunity and threatens the lives of journalists in Palestine and across the world.  

Ms Abu Akleh was shot in the head on May 11 while covering an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank despite clearly being identified as press. 

Palestinian officials, international rights groups and media outlets carried out independent investigations that concluded that she was killed by the Israeli military.

B’Tselem branded the US investigation a whitewash which will enable the continued killing of Palestinians with impunity. 

“The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent. 

“Meanwhile, Israel’s international impunity remains unchallenged,” it said.

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