Washington, DC – In a United States Congress that’s largely unconditional in its assist for Israel, many lawmakers have condemned the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot by Israeli forces on Wednesday.
Still, few Congress members talked about Israel by title because the perpetrator of the lethal incident, whereas some legislators who serve in main roles on overseas coverage and press freedom panels ignored the capturing altogether.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, has been essentially the most outspoken.
The progressive lawmaker, who’s of Palestinian descent, referred to as for a second of silence for the slain journalist on the ground of the House of Representatives on Wednesday and condemned the killing in a number of statements and media appearances.
“An American journalist clearly marked with press credentials was murdered. Doing and saying nothing just enables more killings,” she wrote in a tweet directed at President Joe Biden, invoking US army assist to Israel, which totals $3.8bn yearly.
“Whether you’re Palestinian, American, or not, being killed with US funding must stop,” Tlaib mentioned.
In a TV interview with Al Jazeera in a while Wednesday, she additionally referred to as for a US-led probe into the incident.
“We need to investigate, ourselves, the killing of an American citizen. Somebody that was out there being a guardian of truth and doing her job was murdered by an apartheid government that we continue to fund with unconditional aid,” she mentioned.
Abu Akleh was a US citizen – a truth emphasised by a number of American officers.
Congressman Mark Pocan, a key House progressive, additionally prompt limiting US assist to Israel.
“Restrictions on aid may be necessary if human rights and universally acceptable norms can’t be followed,” he wrote on Twitter.
The US authorities’s condemnation of the killing of an American journalist is a welcome response to an untenable state of affairs in Israel and Palestine. Restrictions on assist could also be needed if human rights and universally acceptable norms can’t be adopted. https://t.co/I5yiv1FONk
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) May 12, 2022
The congressional statements on the killing of Abu Akleh got here from Democratic Party lawmakers, most of whom are a part of the get together’s progressive wing.
Al Jazeera was not capable of finding any assertion by Republican legislators denouncing the killing.
Ilhan Omar, a left-wing, Muslim-American member of the House, was unambiguous in blaming Israel for the Palestinian journalist’s killing.
“She was killed by the Israeli military, after making her presence as a journalist clearly known,” she wrote on Twitter. “We provide Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid annually with no restrictions. What will it take for accountability for these human rights violations?”
Omar’s fellow Muslim lawmaker Andre Carson additionally referred to as on the US authorities to “hold the Israeli government accountable for this and all other acts of unjust violence it commits”.
I be part of numerous others in mourning the demise of @AlJazeera journalist, #ShireenAbuAkleh, who was killed by Israeli army whereas on project. The U.S. should maintain the Israeli authorities accountable for this and all different acts of unjust violence it commits.
— André Carson (@RepAndreCarson) May 11, 2022
Several prime Democrats joined progressive members of the get together in paying tribute to Abu Akleh and calling for an investigation, however they didn’t level the finger at Israel.
“The killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is an horrific tragedy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a staunch supporter of Israel, wrote on Twitter.
“A thorough, objective investigation is needed now. Congress is committed to the defense of press freedoms worldwide and protection of every journalist, particularly those in conflict zones.”
Senator Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat and outspoken backer of robust US-Israel ties, mentioned he was “disturbed” by the killing of Abu Akleh.
“Abu Akleh’s death is an attack on a journalist who was wearing her press gear,” he mentioned in an announcement. “No journalist should be killed while simply doing their job. I strongly condemn her death and call for an independent and thorough investigation into the incident.”
Senator Chris Van Hollen additionally urged an unbiased probe into the incident.
.@SpeakerPelosi is correct. Anyone who believes in press freedom and justice ought to name for a radical and unbiased investigation into the killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. https://t.co/eUqO133GwO
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 12, 2022
So did Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “Veteran American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was simply doing her job when she was shot and killed early this morning,” he mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday.
“Her heartbreaking death should be considered an attack on freedom of the press everywhere. There must be a thorough investigation and full accountability for those responsible.”
Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for the Freedom of the Press, additionally referred to as the deadly capturing of the Palestinian-American journalist a “terrible tragedy”.
“The Israeli military must conduct a thorough and objective investigation into Abu Akleh’s death, and be transparent about its findings,” Schiff mentioned in an announcement. “My prayers are with her family, with her colleague, Ali Al-Samudi, who was also wounded, and with members of the press everywhere who risk their lives to bring us the truth.”
Palestinian rights advocates have rejected calls by US officers for Israel to conduct its personal investigation, arguing that the Israeli authorities shouldn’t be trusted to carry itself accountable for alleged conflict crimes.
Steve Chabot, the Republican co-chair of the Press Freedom Caucus, has not launched any formal assertion in regards to the killing on his congressional webpage or social media accounts. His workplace didn’t return Al Jazeera’s request for remark by time of publication.
Congressman Andy Levin, a Jewish-American consultant from Michigan, who’s going through off in a major in opposition to fellow Democratic incumbent Haley Stevens after redistricting, mentioned he was “horrified” by the killing of Abu Akleh.
“Globally, in places as diverse as Palestine, Mexico and Russia, the international community must come together to defend the rights of the free press,” he wrote in a sequence of tweets.
Stevens, who’s backed by quite a few pro-Israel teams, together with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has mentioned nothing in regards to the incident on her social media accounts or on her congressional web site.
Debbie Dingell, one other Michigan legislator, who represents a big Arab-American group, mentioned press freedom is “paramount in any democracy”.
The killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is horrifying & heartbreaking. Freedom of the press is paramount in any democracy.
I be part of the Admin in calling for a radical investigation to carry these accountable to account.https://t.co/M1QWe1n0l0
— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) May 11, 2022
The chairs of the House and Senate overseas coverage panels didn’t tackle the incident in formal statements. The House Foreign Affairs Committee shared Pelosi’s submit on the killing by way of its Twitter account.
The deadly capturing of Abu Akleh coincided with a busy week in Washington, which is preoccupied with home points, together with a child system scarcity and a failed try to move laws defending abortion rights.
Ro Khanna, a House progressive representing a district in California, wrote in a social media submit, “The killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is devastating and a blatant assault on the freedom of the press.”
New York Representative Yvette Clarke mentioned the killing is “yet another reason why we need a path to a two-state solution in the region”.
I wish to categorical my honest condolences to the household of journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. Some of them name New York’s ninth District home. This tragedy is but another excuse why we want a path to a two-state resolution within the area. https://t.co/rBt2yM9bsK
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) May 11, 2022
Congresswoman Marie Newman, who usually criticises Israeli abuses in opposition to Palestinians, mentioned she was “extremely concerned by reports that Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed by Israeli forces while wearing a press vest and reporting in the West Bank”.
“We must protect the press and hold those accountable for this heinous crime,” she wrote on Twitter.
Congresswoman Cori Bush, a progressive supporter of Palestinian rights, condemned the “unacceptable attack”.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who has championed Palestinian human rights in Congress and launched payments to limit US assist to Israel, additionally mentioned the killing should be “condemned and investigated”.
The Israeli army killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is devastating and infuriating. I condemn this unacceptable assault on her, on Palestinians and the liberty and security of journalists all over the place.
There should be accountability, and we should demand an finish to Israeli apartheid. https://t.co/q3SfPFVQ6G
— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) May 12, 2022