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Israel Moves ahead with Investigation into Al Jazeera Journalist’s Death

May 20, 2022

by: Ilse Strauss

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The PA will not release the bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh for an investigation (illustrative)

Friday, 20 May 2022 | The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it may have identified the soldier’s gun that fired the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Associated Press reported.

There’s one problem, though. The Palestinian Authority (PA) took control of Akleh’s body, performed an autopsy before her burial, retains the bullet and staunchly refuses Israel’s calls for a joint investigation. So unless the PA turns over the bullet that killed Akleh to Israeli investigators for analysis, it’s impossible to be sure who fired it.

Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian–American duel citizen, died from a bullet wound to the head on May 11, while covering an Israeli counterterror raid in Jenin, a Palestinian-governed city in northern Samaria that has been at the heart of recent roiling tensions in Judea and Samaria—also known as the so-called West Bank.

Her death sparked a battle of narratives, a fight for truth and a firestorm of condemnation at the Jewish state for what anti-Israel voices labeled “deliberate,” “cold-blooded murder”—all before an investigation could conclude who fired the lethal bullet.

On the one hand, the Palestinians, Al Jazeera PA, the Washington Post, Amnesty International, US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, and hundreds of thousands on social media hold Israel responsible.

On the other, Israel presented a number of possible scenarios—and immediately launched a full investigation, involving the army’s General Staff and the entire chain of command, including Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

The Israeli troops came under massive fire as soon as they entered Jenin, a fact that numerous video clips corroborate. The IDF highlighted three direct exchanges of fire involving a gunman on a rooftop, a terrorist hurling explosives and a gunman armed with an M16 assault rifle. The forces returned fire in all three incidents.

The results of the IDF’s preliminary probe narrowed down the possibilities to two, according to the AP report. Akleh might have been killed by a Palestinian gunman firing indiscriminately, hoping to hit Israeli soldiers and striking her instead. Alternatively, she might have been hit by an Israeli soldier in a military vehicle shooting through a “designated firing hole” at a Palestinian gunman firing at the vehicle.

Now Israel’s investigation seems to have made taken another step forward. Stressing that the source of the shot remained unclear, “we have narrowed down the IDF weapon that might be involved in the fire exchange near Shireen,” AP quoted an Israel military official as saying.

The official reiterated Israel’s call for a joint investigation to uncover the truth. If the PA releases the bullet, he explained, Israel will “hopefully be able to compare the bullet to that barrel and check if there is a match.”

The ball appears to be in the PA’s court. But perhaps the Palestinians are perfectly content with the situation as is. Who wants to know what really happened if headlines, politicians and social media are having a field day slamming Israel?

Posted on May 20, 2022

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 20, 2022)

Photo Credit: Triumphdaytona595/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

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