Jerusalem24– US Secretary of State Spokesperson Ned Price was affronted with a barrage of questions concerning the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during a press briefing yesterday.
He expressed condolences to Abu Akleh’s family and loved ones and called for “an immediate and thorough investigation and full accountability.”
He said the State Department welcomed the Israeli authorities’ announcement that an investigation was already underway.
When asked whether he “trusted Israel investigating itself”, Price responded, “The Israelis have the wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation,” a statement he repeated three times throughout the briefing.
Concerning the possibility of a joint Palestinian-Israeli investigation, he said, “I’m sure the Palestinians will do their own review as well.”
“What is important to us is that those responsible for this killing be held accountable for their actions,” he stressed.
When asked whether he believed Abu Akleh might have been targeted because she was a journalist, Price said he wasn’t going to “prejudge an investigation”.
“We are going to wait to hear where the facts lead in this case, and importantly, to see the accountability that is mounted in the aftermath of this investigation.”
Veteran journalist Saeed Erekat pressed him on the point of accountability, mentioning that the Israeli investigation into the killing of 78-year-old Palestinian-American citizen Omar Assad in January this year had yet to yield any results.
Price responded by mentioning the case of Eyad Al-Hallaq, a 32-year-old autistic Palestinian man who was shot and killed by Israeli border police in Jerusalem in May 2020, over which one Israeli officer was charged but has yet to stand trial. Price stated that the indictment clearly showed that “Israeli authorities have the wherewithal to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation.”
A number of the journalists present at the press briefing were close colleagues of Abu Akleh.