by: Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews
Friday, 13 May 2022 | Israeli officials requested US assistance in persuading the Palestinian Authority [PA] to agree to a joint investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh on Wednesday during exchanges of fire in Jenin.
Abu Akleh was shot in the head while covering an incursion of IDF [Israel Defense Forces] troops into the city’s refugee camp.
The officials told their American counterparts that they were concerned that the Palestinians would destroy evidence that may show the reporter was killed by Palestinian militant gunfire. The PA had blamed Israel for the incident.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he expected the PA to refrain from contaminating forensic evidence and disrupting a transparent search for the truth.
“The PA is preventing any possibility to jointly investigate the death and refuses even to grant access to the critical forensic evidence needed in order to arrive at the truth,” Bennett said.
“I repeat my expectation for transparency of the findings and complete cooperation,” the prime minister said. “I expect the PA not to take any steps that may contaminate or disrupt the investigation in a manner that will prevent the truth from coming out,” he said.
The officials in Jerusalem said they believe the PA was prevented from agreeing to a joint investigation because of public opinion.
But since US President Joe Biden was set to visit the region in the coming months, they may reconsider their decision in order to ensure American financial support.
Abu Akleh died from a gunshot wound to the head while covering the incursion of IDF troops into the Jenin refugee camp and the exchanges of fire with Palestinian gunmen there.
The PA blamed Israel for the killing while Israel said she could have died from the indiscriminate shooting of the Palestinians and offered to conduct a joint investigation into the tragic incident.
On Thursday, [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA will conduct its own investigation and refused Israel’s suggestion.
Israel requested to be allowed to examine the bullet that killed the journalist in order to determine whether it was shot from an IDF weapon or from a gun used by the militants in the camp.
In a memorial service for Abu Akleh, which was held in Ramallah earlier, Abbas called Abu Akleh a martyr of Jerusalem.
“This crime cannot pass without consequence,” Abbas said. “We refuse and will refuse in [the] future to cooperate with any Israeli investigation because Israel is the criminal here. We will take the matter to the International Criminal Court in the Hague,” he said.
Abu Akleh will be buried in a Christian cemetery in Jerusalem on Friday, and thousands are expected to join the procession.
Jerusalem police intends to close off roads to allow the mourners safe passage. The police said it will protect funeral goers but will act decisively against any rioters attempting to use the procession to disrupt order.
Posted on May 13, 2022
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