Washington, DC – Lots of of Palestinian rights supporters and press freedom advocates have gathered in Washington, DC to pay tribute and demand justice for Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli forces within the occupied West Financial institution final week.
The candlelight vigil, held exterior the Nationwide Press Membership in Washington, DC, late on Tuesday, got here almost per week after Abu Akleh was fatally shot whereas on project.
“We grew up watching Shireen. Shireen was our voice. And we felt like that voice was minimize off,” Najat Ghanem, a mom of two, instructed Al Jazeera, as she held again her tears.
Abu Akleh reported from the Palestinian territories for 25 years – overlaying all points of life below Israeli occupation.
Salma Shanaa, a Palestinian American trainer residing in neighbouring Virginia, stated the killing of Abu Akleh whereas she was sporting a flak jacket clearly marked with the phrase “PRESS” was the “final injustice”.
“She has been in our home for 25 years,” Shanaa instructed Al Jazeera, referring to Abu Akleh’s TV appearances. “I felt like I misplaced a sister. All of us felt the ache deep inside our hearts. Shireen will not be higher than the martyrs who preceded her, however Shireen is an emblem.”
As vehicles drove by – with many honking their horns in help – the attendees sang Mawtini (My Homeland), a tune thought-about by many Palestinians as an unofficial nationwide anthem.
Lina Musmar, a pharmacist who was draped in a Palestinian flag, stated Abu Akleh was killed whereas telling the reality concerning the injustices in Palestine.
“It’s simply very tough to imagine that she was killed like that and the best way they handled her casket at her funeral,” Musmar stated.
Israeli police attacked Abu Akleh’s funeral procession and beat pallbearers carrying her coffin with batons in scenes that sparked outrage internationally.
“All the things is simply heartbreaking,” Musmar added. “And the truth that she’s a US citizen and the US aren’t even conducting an investigation is simply past perception at this level.”
President Joe Biden’s administration condemned the killing final week and known as for an investigation however stated it could belief Israel to conduct the investigation. State Division spokesman Ned Value stated Israel has the “wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct an intensive, complete investigation”.
A number of attendees questioned Washington’s logic of permitting Israel, whose army is the prime suspect within the killing, to research itself.
“Once I turned a US citizen, in the course of the naturalisation ceremony, we pledged loyalty to the USA,” Musmar instructed Al Jazeera. “At the moment, I query the USA’ loyalty to its residents, provided that Shireen Abu Akleh was a US citizen and she or he was killed, and all they did was condemned. It’s actually unhappy.”
Palestinian rights advocates have been urging the administration to condition or restrict US support to Israel over the killing of Abu Akleh and different rights abuses.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Israel’s B’Tselem amongst different rights teams have accused Israel of committing apartheid in opposition to Palestinians – findings which were rejected by the Israeli and US governments.
In an interview with Al Jazeera earlier than the vigil on Tuesday, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib reiterated her name for an unbiased investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh.
“The killing and concentrating on of Shireen Abu Akleh and what had occurred to her is a battle crime,” Tlaib stated. “And asking the folks that really dedicated the crime to research themselves is simply unbelievably mistaken.”