‘BLATANT LIE’: PA investigation concludes IDF ‘deliberately’ killed journalist

“It has been proven that a member of the occupation forces fired a live bullet that hit the martyr Abu Akleh in the head,” the PA attorney-general claimed.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

The Attorney General of the Palestinian Authority delivered his report Thursday evening regarding the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed two weeks ago while covering a counterterrorism operation in Jenin.

The 51-year-old veteran reporter was wearing a protective helmet but was struck in an exposed area near the ear during a firefight between IDF soldiers and Palestinian terrorists.

The Palestinians and Al Jazeera immediately blamed the Israelis. Al Jazeera said that the “heinous crime” was carried out in “cold blood” by IDF soldiers and called on “the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable.”

“According to the data we have at the moment, there is a good chance that armed Palestinians, who fired wildly, are the ones who led to the unfortunate death of the journalist,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the time. He also pledged to carry out a full investigation and urged the Palestinian Authority to work together. However, the Palestinians refused to cooperate.

The Palestinians released their report Thursday evening at a press conference, repeating the claim that an IDF soldier deliberately fired at Abu Akleh as she was running to flee the scene.

“It has been proven that a member of the occupation forces stationed in the middle of the street fired a live bullet that hit the martyr Abu Akleh in the head from the rear left side while she was trying to escape from the bullets fired by the occupation soldiers,” PA prosecutor Akram al-Khatib stated.

“The Israeli forces had clear information about the location of the journalists in Jenin,” he said.

Senior Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh said that the report has been handed over to the U.S. administration and that a copy would be given to Abu Akleh’s family as well as to Al Jazeera.

‘IDF is operating against murderous terrorism’

Israel categorically rejected the PA report.

“The State of Israel offers its condolences following the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. The IDF is conducting an ongoing investigation into the matter in order to reveal the truth. Any claim that the IDF intentionally harms journalists or uninvolved civilians, is a blatant lie,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement.

“The IDF is operating against murderous terrorism, which in recent weeks has claimed the lives of 20 people,” he said referring to the deadly attacks throughout the country over the past couple of months.

“Many of the terrorists who conducted the attacks came from the the Jenin area, which is where the incident took place,” he noted. “We always act with precision, targeting terrorists and taking measures to avoid harm to civilians. We will continue operating in this manner.

“Investigations and briefings are not carried out at press conferences, but rather in closed rooms, and while transmitting information.”

Furthermore, “despite multiple requests from Israel, the Palestinians refuse to cooperate, which raises the question of whether they really want to uncover the truth. Even today, I call on the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet and all their findings. To this day, we are prepared and willing to conduct an investigation in collaboration with international actors.”

“He who believes in himself, is unafraid,” Gantz said, apparently hinting at the likelihood that the PA prefers to hide the truth, knowing the bullet could have been fired by one of the terrorists.”

Taking a swipe at CNN

According to Gantz, while conducting counterterrorism operations, the IDF is careful to avoid harming civilians and, therefore, “would want to know the truth and would consider what can be done to save human lives.”

The defense minister also took a swipe at CNN for its biased report released the previous day in which it, too, blamed the IDF for the journalist’s death. Among the flaws in the report was the fact that witnesses whom the network relied upon were in fact terror supporters.

“Unilateral investigations and attempts to charge IDF soldiers with war crimes while promoting false assessments such as the one published by CNN undermine the ability to achieve peace and stability in the region, while ultimately boosting terrorism,” Gantz said.

“The IDF is a moral military. I would like to express my support for our soldiers. I am proud to lead a security institution that operates everywhere, at all times, in order to protect the citizens of the State of Israel,” he concluded.