Opinion: Was Palestinian American journalist killed by Israeli soldiers? US must investigate.

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When she was shot in the head in the occupied West Bank in May, veteran Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a household name in the Arab world, was wearing a bulletproof jacket with the word "PRESS" printed in large block letters.

At her funeral in Jerusalem, Israeli police beat pallbearers with batons.

The Biden administration has tried to sidestep the issue of why she was shot. Numerous investigations point to Israeli culpability:

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►Investigations by the United Nations, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times have all lent significant credibility to arguments made by the Palestinian Authority and the family of the Al Jazeera journalist that she was likely shot by Israeli forces.

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►On July 4, the State Department issued a statement agreeing the bullet appears to have been fired from the Israeli side, but said it was unable to determine whether the shot was fired intentionally – as if a bullet, and not video or eyewitness testimony, were the only evidence available to investigators.

Journalist's family met Washington officials Tuesday

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President Joe Biden didn't meet with the journalist's family when he was in Israel recently. Instead, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken invited Abu Akleh's family to come to Washington to discuss the issue, which they did on Tuesday.

USA TODAY spoke with her nephew, 28-year-old Victor Abu Akleh, immediately after the family's visit with members of Congress and Blinken. He fought back tears as he tried to recount what the meetings have been like – and who his aunt was. His conversation with Editorial Board member Carli Pierson has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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Victor Abu Akleh is Shireen Abu Akleh's nephew. On July 26, 2022, he and other family members met with members of Congress and Secretary of State Antony Blinken about accountability for her killing. © Diana Buttu Victor Abu Akleh is Shireen Abu Akleh's nephew. On July 26, 2022, he and other family members met with members of Congress and Secretary of State Antony Blinken about accountability for her killing.

When you came to these meetings, what were you hoping for and what did you get?

We were hoping to get better answers to what they're doing to get Shireen justice, to hold those responsible, not just accountable, for her death.

We were also hoping they could rectify the statement they released on July 4th which stated that the shots were most likely from IDF (Israel Defense Forces) side but that it didn't seem intentional. ... They preemptively determined the intent without conducting a criminal investigation. So, one of my questions to Blinken was, "How did you come to that conclusion?" His answer to me was, "They couldn't determine intent."

We ended up hearing the same rhetoric that they said in the July 4th statement, and being empathetic with us. Part of it felt like a show, like they just wanted to get this meeting over with us and be done with it so they could say, "We met with the family."

Palestinian journalist killed: Washington remains deaf to calls for an independent investigation

 Palestinian journalist killed: Washington remains deaf to calls for an independent investigation L A family from the American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, killed last May, pressed Antony Blinken Tuesday to account for Israel, but the Head of American diplomacy remained deaf to calls for an independent investigation. The relatives of the journalist, killed as she covered an Israeli military operation in an occupied West Bank, went to Washington at the invitation of Mr.

We are hoping for an independent American investigation so we can get better answers.

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Tell me about your meetings with members of Congress?

We met with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.). They gave us their full support and echoed our frustrations and said they are doing the best they can to move forward with the case.

That meant a lot to us. It felt like someone was with us.

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What do you want us to know about your aunt?

What she was doing for the Palestinian people ... for us it is hard to be heard. She was giving a voice to the voiceless. As a journalist you know you are doing your best to get the truth out and for them to just take it away ...

(The Palestinians are) constantly dehumanized. They're not viewed as people. They're classified as terrorists. There's no information about the struggles they go through: The day-to-day, how difficult it is to get to work. All the checkpoints people have to pass. All the humiliations they have to go through. It's very hard.

She is 8 years old. I ask her what the war in Ukraine is like. 'Terrible,' she says.

  She is 8 years old. I ask her what the war in Ukraine is like. 'Terrible,' she says. I know, as a psychiatrist who has worked with children during and after wars for 30 years, that words about terrifying experiences don’t come easily. “Would you draw ‘terrible’ for me?” I ask, sharing a piece of paper and crayons. Sofia's drawing haunts me Sofia bends to the task. She draws a small, child-size body, eyes closed, covered in the red of blood, lying on the ground. Next, a vertical figure standing over the body, holding an automatic weapon. “This,” she tells me, “is the Russian soldier who killed the girl.

That is what she showed. She wanted the Palestinians to be able to live a normal life, and that is what she was working toward. It scared them and they had to shut her up.

Carli Pierson, a New York licensed attorney, is an opinion writer with USA TODAY, and a member of the USA TODAY Editorial Board. Follow her on Twitter: @CarliPiersonEsq

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to [email protected]

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Was Palestinian American journalist killed by Israeli soldiers? US must investigate.

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