[VIDEO] Blinken grilled over Shireen Abu Akleh killing: ‘Why is there no accountability for Israel or Saudi Arabia for murdering journalists ?’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Thierry Monasse - Anadolu Agency)

Michael Arria

Mondoweiss  /  June 8, 2022

Secretary of State Antony Blinken continues to claim the facts “have not been established” in the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.

During a Summit of the Americas event last night in Los Angeles, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was questioned by journalist Abby Martin about the killing of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

VIDEO :  Antony Blinken grilled over Abu Akleh killing – Mondoweiss

“Secretary Blinken, what about Shireen Abu Akleh?,” asked Martin. “She was murdered by Israeli forces. CNN just agreed to this. These are our two greatest allies in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Israel. They have murdered American journalists and there have been absolutely no repercussions . . . you’re sitting up here talking about the freedom of press and democracy. The United States is denying sovereignty to tens of millions of people around the world with draconian sanctions for electing leaders that you do not like. Why is there no accountability for Israel or Saudi Arabia for murdering journalists?”

“I deplore the loss of Shireen,” Blinken responded. “She was a remarkable journalist, an American citizen…We are looking for an independent, credible investigation. When that investigation happens, we will follow the facts, wherever they lead. It’s as straightforward as that.”

Blinken also said that the facts of the case “have not yet been established.”

Abu Akleh was killed on May 11 while reporting outside a refugee camp in Jenin. At first the Israeli government claimed she died amid dueling gunfire, but this was immediately disproven through witness testimony and video. Israel announced that it was launching a probe into her death, but the IDF has made it clear that there will not be a criminal investigation.

Despite repeated calls from U.S. lawmakers for an independent investigation, the Biden administration has made it clear that they trust Israel to carry it out on their own. The Palestinian foreign ministry recently asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Abu Akleh’s killing, but the United States opposes ICC involvement.

“We believe that the ICC should maintain its focus on its core mission, and that core mission is to serve as a court of last resort in punishing and deterring atrocity crimes,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters two weeks ago.

The CNN investigation that Martin referenced was published on May 26. Relying on eyewitness accounts, video, and ballistic analysis the news organization concluded that “there was no active combat, nor any Palestinian militants, near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death” and that the evidence “suggests that Abu Akleh was shot dead in a targeted attack by Israeli forces.”

That same week the AP carried out a reconstruction of Abu Akleh’s killing. They reported that their findings lend “support to assertions from both Palestinian authorities and Abu Akleh’s colleagues that the bullet that cut her down came from an Israeli gun.”

This isn’t the first time that Blinken has faced public protest over Abu Akleh’s murder in recent weeks. During a commencement ceremony at Georgetown University that he attended on May 21, multiple students displayed pictures of the late Palestinian-American journalist and raised the Palestinian flag.

Palestinian-American graduate Nooran Alhamdan refused to shake his hand while walking across the stage.

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss