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PA doubles down, won't investigate Abu Akleh killing with Israel

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Photo by: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN

The Palestinian Authority over the weekend reiterated its refusal to hold a joint investigation with Israel into the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh.

The PA’s refusal to cooperate with Israel in the investigation came amid reports that the US had exerted pressure on the Palestinians in this regard.

A PA official said that the Palestinians were prepared to “fully cooperate” with the US and other parties on the case. Abu Akleh, 51, was a US citizen and held an Israeli ID card in her capacity as a resident of Jerusalem.

On Thursday, senior PLO official Hussein al-Sheikh, who is considered No. 2 in the PA leadership, said that the Palestinians won’t hand over to Israel the bullet that was removed from the head of Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot early Wednesday while covering an IDF operation in Jenin.

On Saturday, al-Sheikh, who serves as PA Civil Affairs Minister, said that the Palestinians “welcome the participation of all international bodies in the investigation.”

Family and friends carry the coffin of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during an Israeli raid in Jenin, during her funeral in Jerusalem, May 13, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

Sheikh said that these bodies should contact the Palestinian Public Prosecution, which issued its initial report about the incident on Friday night.

Sheikh added that what happened during the funeral of Abu Akleh in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon “reinforces our position that rejects Israel’s participation in this investigation.”

He was referring to the violence that erupted between Palestinians and the Israel Police at the French Hospital in east Jerusalem, where the funeral procession began.

A statement issued by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Public Prosecution said that an initial investigation has shown that Abu Akleh was shot by IDF soldiers.

According to the statement, “the only source of gunfire at the scene where Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed was the Israeli occupation forces.”

The prosecution said that while it was continuing the investigation into “the heinous crime committed by the occupation forces, preliminary investigations concluded that the only source of fire at the scene of the crime was from the occupation forces,” adding that the investigations so far indicated that the IDF soldiers “deliberately committed their crime.”

It further claimed that “fresh traces and marks on the tree near which she was hit were a result of direct shooting towards the crime scene,” as well as claiming that “the position of the nearest occupation force was about 150 meters away when Shireen Abu Akleh was shot while wearing a journalist’s uniform and a protective helmet.”

The prosecution said that the results of the initial forensic medical report indicated that the direct cause of death was a laceration of the brain caused by a high-velocity projectile penetrating into the skull cavity through the entrance wound, after which it exited from the cavity through the exit wound, hit the inner side of the protective helmet and rebounded to settle inside the lacerated tissues inside the skull.

The projectile was extracted from the head of Abu Akleh and sent to the crime laboratory to prepare a detailed technical report on the matter, it said.

The Palestinian prosecution said that its representatives will hold a press conference to announce the final results of the investigation as soon as it is completed and vowed to continue documenting Israeli “crimes” in preparation for bringing them before the International Criminal Court.

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Dive Deeper:
Israel ‘investigating soldier’ in journalist Abu Akleh’s killing
Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday during a military raid in the West Bank town of…
Palestinians Reject to Hand Over Bullet that Killed Abu Akleh, Blame Israel
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday rejected an Israeli request to hold a joint investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera…
Calls grow for independent investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing
The UN calls for ‘independent investigation’ after Al Jazeera says Shireen Abu Akleh was ‘assassinated in cold blood’.
Slain Palestinian-American reporter to be buried as Israel plans more settlements
Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh will be buried alongside her parents in a cemetery near Jerusalem's Old City…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
After outcry, Israel police to probe actions at journalist's funeral
Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel's police chief on Saturday ordered an investigation into the actions of officers at the funeral of…
UN experts condemn Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing: Latest updates
UN human rights experts demand a prompt, transparent, thorough and independent investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing.
Get all your news in one place