There are growing calls for an independent and impartial investigation into the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. shot She focused on Israeli attacks on Palestinian journalists when she reported on Israeli forces attacking the occupied West Bank.
Abu Akleh, 51, had been “assassinated in cold blood” by “Israeli occupying forces”, the Qatar-based television channel said in a statement on Wednesday.
Another Al Jazeera reporter and producer, Ali al-Samudi, was injured in the incident, both wearing helmets and vests marked “Press”. He later said that there were no Palestinian fighters nearby, stressing that otherwise “we would not have entered the area”.
Witness Majid Awais told AFP that Abu Akleh was “panicked” when she saw her colleague al-Samudi being shot, moments later when she was hit by the fatal bullet.
She died nearly a year after Israeli airstrikes destroyed the Gaza building where Al Jazeera and news agency The Associated Press offices were located.
The Palestinian Authority said it believed Israel was “responsible” for the killing of Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American who was shot in the head during an Israeli operation in the Jenin refugee camp.
The Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, condemned the killing “in the strongest terms”, calling it an “assassination”.
The EU has urged an “independent” investigation into her death, and the office of UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said it was “appalled” and called for an “independent and transparent investigation”.
Meanwhile, U.S. envoy to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for a “transparent investigation” into the killing.
“Totally and Independently”
Commenting on the development, Ayman Mohideen, a former English-language Al Jazeera correspondent who worked closely with Abu Akleh when reporting from Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, said the US government should push for an independent investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing U.S. citizen.
“Most importantly, if they [US authorities] To see an investigation, it has to be thorough and independent,” Mohideen said.
Al Jazeera’s Kristin Salome, speaking at UN headquarters in New York, said the UN secretary-general, the high commissioner for human rights and the UN special envoy for the Middle East have all called for an independent investigation into the killing of Abu Akler.
On the other hand, the U.S. State Department said that Israel has the ability to conduct a thorough investigation into Abu Ackley’s death.
“The Israelis have the funds and capacity to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation,” department spokesman Ned Price said at a news conference.
change the narrative
Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that “armed Palestinians – who fired indiscriminately – were likely responsible for the journalist’s tragic death”.
He later said that there were no Palestinian fighters nearby, stressing that otherwise “we would not have entered the area”.
Defense Secretary Benny Gantz later said that “preliminary investigations conducted by the (military) over the past few hours indicate that there have been no shootings against the journalist – however, the investigation is still ongoing”.
Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said that “at this stage, the source of the gunshots that hit her cannot be determined”.
Asked about Israel’s openness to international investigations, military spokesman Amnon Scheffler said the military’s internal investigation system was “robust” and that it would conduct its own investigations.
Scheffler told reporters that Israel “will never deliberately target non-combatants,” calling Abu Akler’s death a “tragedy that should not have happened.”
Israel, however, has publicly expressed its willingness to participate in a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority.
But the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said his country would “not accept” the “Israeli occupation authority” investigation and held the Israeli army responsible for the “assassination” of Abu Akl.
Mansour told reporters at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Wednesday: “The Israeli side’s claims are fictitious, fictitious and do not correspond to reality, and we do not accept an investigation into this issue. With the criminals who are carrying out the incident itself.
Jenin is a tipping point
In recent weeks, the Israeli army has stepped up its operations in Jenin, a historical hotspot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Several suspects accused of deadly attacks on Israelis are from the region.
Tensions have escalated in recent months as Israel grapples with a wave of attacks that have killed at least 18 people since March 22, including an Arab-Israeli police officer and two Ukrainians.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, more than 20 Palestinians have been killed since the end of March.
Also on Wednesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Israeli soldiers had shot and killed an 18-year-old Palestinian in the West Bank near Ramallah. The ministry did not provide any further details, and Israeli authorities did not comment.