Senate Dems want State Department funding contingent on probe into death of Al Jazeera reporter

Shireen Abu Akleh was fatally shot in May while reporting on a security raid by Israeli forces in West Bank

Updated: July 29, 2022 - 3:21pm

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A group of Senate Democrats want the passage of legislation that funds the State Department to include a provision requiring the Biden administration to determine whether U.S. assistance to Israel should be blocked if Israeli forces are found to have committed human rights violations or war crimes in connection to the killing of an Al Jazeera journalist.

The provision would require the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress showing the administration's efforts to support an independent investigation into the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, according to The Hill newspaper. She was fatally shot in May while reporting on a security raid by Israeli forces in the West Bank.

The request is based on a section of the Foreign Assistance Act that states U.S. assistance should be blocked for foreign security forces upon discovering "credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights or war crime."  

The legislative text was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, of Vermont and chairman of the chamber's Appropriations committee, and fellow Democrat Sens. Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland; Dick Durbin, of Illinois; Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire; Jeff Merkley, of Oregon; and Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, The Hill also reports.

The family of Abu Akleh and other supporters in Washington say President Biden and his administration have not done enough to push for an independent investigation and accountability for the journalist's death.