Van Hollen Statement Calling for Declassification of USSC Summation Report on Shooting Death of Shireen Abu Akleh
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement after his review of the summation report on the shooting death of American citizen Shireen Abu Akleh produced by the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC):
“I want to commend the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC) General Michael Fenzel, and his team, for completing this important summation report on the shooting death of American citizen and journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. The USSC and his team have approached their assignment with objectivity and the utmost professional integrity.
“Based on information previously provided to me by the State Department, the USSC and his team were not granted access to key witnesses and therefore were unable to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh. As such, this summation report does not and cannot shed new light on the state of mind of the individual responsible for firing the fatal shot. Nevertheless, the report does provide very important insights into the circumstances that led to Shireen Abu Akleh’s wrongful death, including relevant information and findings about the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unit involved in that operation – as well as other IDF units operating in the West Bank. In the aftermath of the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, Secretary Blinken has asked the Government of Israel to review the IDF rules of engagement in the West Bank, but he has been rebuffed – such a review remains necessary.
“Following my viewing of the USSC report, I urge the Administration to immediately declassify it in its entirety. I strongly believe that its public release is vital to ensuring transparency and accountability in the shooting death of American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and to avoiding future preventable and wrongful deaths – goals we should all support.”
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