Officials say Palestinian Authority may be reluctant to cooperate in an inquiry with Israel to determine who shot Shireen Abu Akleh, killed in exchanges of fire in Jenin fearing public opinion but would reconsider ahead of Biden visit

Israeli officials requested U.S. assistance in persuading the Palestinian Authority 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 troops into the city’s refugee camp.

שירין אבו עאקלה אל ג'זירה
Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed in Jenin on Wednesday


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 that 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.

Mahmoud Abbas, Naftali Bennett
Mahmoud Abbas, Naftali Bennett (Photo: AFP, EPA)


The officials in Jerusalem said they believe the PA was prevented from agreeing to a joint investigation because of public opinion.

Bunt since U.S. 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, Palestinian 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 Ramallha earlier, Abbas called Abu Akleh a martyr of Jerusalem.

 טקס האשכבה לשירין אבו עאקלה
Service held in Ramallah for slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Thursday (Photo: Reuters)


“This crime cannot pass without consequence,” Abbas said. “We refuse and will refuse in 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.

As reported by Ynetnews