WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement from National Press Club President Jen Judson on the report released today by Israel on the killing of American citizen and Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
“We were disappointed, but not surprised by the report released by Israel after their investigation into the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. They have left the job of finding justice for Shireen to the United States. Unfortunately, based on a statement released last night, the State Department does not seem to have the will for the job. They would rather let this killing of an American citizen stand with impunity than lead an independent investigation. The Administration is building an unfortunate record of being unable to match their rhetoric about support for press freedom with action.
It took weeks for the IDF to drop the pretense that Shireen might have been killed by Palestinian crossfire. At least that has now been completely debunked. They are finally offering a form of contrition – although indirectly attributed to the shooter. We see nothing in the Israeli report that suggests they appreciate the significance of killing a journalist working in the field. The entire report rests on intent. We believe intent is the sort of thing best determined by an independent investigation or a court of law.
There are other assertions in the report that are hard to accept. The idea that the shooter was under heavy fire is something that has been discredited by many other investigations, so, is unlikely. The idea that the shot was an accident is complicated by its very precision.
The IDF needs a review of best practices operating with journalists in the field. There may be need for retraining. And leadership should get the message that violence against journalists will not be tolerated and that an apology nearly four months after the killing does not make the problem go away. It is hard to find anything in the Israeli report that supports trying to fix this problem which is being labeled an accident.
Israel is a major regional U.S. security partner, and we should fairly be able to expect better from them on this. We also expect more from the U.S. government than this. We call on journalists to make their voices heard on this matter. We cannot accept this timorous excuse for an apology, particularly when it comes absent any promises of operational reform on the IDF’s part, which are needed to decrease the likelihood of such a horrible tragedy occurring again.”
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. Among the Club’s 3,000 members are representatives of nearly every major news organization. The Club is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and worldwide.
Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534
SOURCE National Press Club