The Israeli army admitted on Monday that it may have shot Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh “by mistake”, but announced that it will not open a criminal investigation into her death, assuring that its troops acted correctly while being shot by militants. Palestinians.
Shireen Abu Akleh, the journalist who brought her voice to the world
“It was decided not to open a criminal investigation into this case,” an Israeli military official told a news conference presenting the conclusions of the army’s investigations into his May 11 incursion into the Jenin refugee camp. The well-known Al Jazeera reporter died after being shot in the head by the Israeli Armed Forces, as documented by several investigations by the New York TimesCNN and other media.
According to the Israeli investigation, “there is a high possibility” that Abu Akleh “was accidentally hit by army fire towards suspects identified as armed Palestinian gunmen,” as troops were fired upon from multiple directions.
The Army affirms that there could be Palestinian militiamen “in the vicinity” of group four of journalists in which Abu Akleh was, for which it assures that it cannot be ruled out that the reporter “was hit by bullets fired by Palestinian gunmen.”
“There were multiple shots coming from all sides,” said the high-ranking military officer, who described the area as “a battlefield” in which “the topas were under fire” and responded by firing in various directions, including the area where the journalist was. .
However, eyewitnesses confirmed that there was no presence of Palestinian armed groups in the area where the journalists were. The investigation of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) assured that the veteran journalist was killed “deliberately” by Israeli soldiers.
Faced with this accusation, the Army assured that “no soldier” intentionally fired at the reporters, since they could not distinguish that there was a group of journalists nearby, although the four were perfectly identified as press in their blue bulletproof vests.
The military spokesman indicated that the Israeli soldiers fired “with the intention of neutralizing the terrorists who fired at the military”, who were also attacking “from the area where Abu Akleh” was located, a veteran journalist well known throughout the Arab world and converted now a symbol for the Palestinians.
This version is contradicted by witnesses present on the ground, various media investigations or videos of the verified events, where there is no evidence of the presence of Palestinian militiamen in the area, nor that the troops were shot in the minutes prior to the lethal shot that killed the Palestinian journalist. The military spokesman did not explain these contradictions at the press conference, according to AP reports.
However, the Army has concluded that the soldiers acted according to the rules of engagement and “proceeded correctly”, so that no soldier or military charge will be prosecuted.
Following the investigation by the Palestinian National Authority, the bullet was subjected to a US-supervised forensic examination – Akleh had US nationality – which determined that it was “probably” shot by Israeli forces, although the analysis did not yield definitive results and the US claimed Israel to make known the findings of his internal investigation. According to Israeli media, Barbara Leaf, the US envoy for Middle East affairs, visiting Israel last week, pushed for Israel to publish her own investigation.
In June, the UN Human Rights Office concluded after its own investigation that “all information gathered” pointed to the journalist being shot dead by Israeli security forces.
Abu Akleh’s family said on Monday they were “hurt, frustrated and disappointed” after announcing Israel’s decision not to open a criminal investigation into his death and called for “significant action” from the United States.
“Unsurprisingly, Israel has refused to take responsibility for Shireen’s murder. Our family is not surprised by this result, as it is obvious that the Israeli war criminals are not going to investigate their own crimes. However, we remain deeply hurt, frustrated and disappointed,” they said, accusing Israel of “trying to obscure the truth and avoid responsibility” for the killing of Abu Akleh.
The family has also once again called for a “thorough, independent and credible” investigation from the US. “It’s the least the US government should do for one of its own citizens. Accountability requires action,” the statement says. The family will also take the case to the International Criminal Court.