A day after senior Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed, Israeli authorities were forced to retract their claim that her death was a result of crossfire between Israeli security forces and Palestinian fighters.
Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi in a statement on Wednesday evening reiterated the claims of crossfire but did not repeat that Akleh died from Palestinians bullets as claimed earlier. He said that “at this stage, it is not possible to determine whose gunfire she was hit by and we are sorry for her death,” Times of Israel reported.
Several Israeli officials including the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had shared a video claiming that Akleh was killed by shots fired by Palestinian fighters despite eyewitnesses claiming that she was shot by Israeli snipers.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem carried out an investigation and proved that the video footage shared by Bennett and other Israeli officials is of some other incident and location.
This morning, B’Tselem’s field researcher in Jenin documented the exact locations in which the Palestinian gunman depicted in a video distributed by the Israeli army, fired, as well as the exact location in which Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed. pic.twitter.com/6VbEJJuF7z
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) May 11, 2022
The post soon became viral and forced Israeli authorities to retract their claims about Akleh being shot by Palestinian fighters.
— Jacob Magid (@JacobMagid) May 11, 2022
Akleh was shot in the face and killed by an Israeli sniper early morning on Wednesday. Her colleague Ali al-Samoudi was also wounded in the firing. They, along with other journalists, were going to cover an Israeli raid in a Palestinian camp in Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank.
Thousands of people attended a state funeral for Akleh on Thursday in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas was also present. Her body was taken to Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem where her family lives. She will be buried there on Friday.
Meanwhile, Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, rejected Israel’s offer of a “joint investigation” in the killing of Akleh. Mansour demanded that any international investigation should not involve Israel, saying that Palestinians hold Israel responsible for the “assassination” of the senior journalist.
Israel had “offered” a joint investigation in Akleh’s killing on Wednesday. Responding to the Israeli offer of investigation, Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, questioned its record saying that “Israel does not investigate. Israel whitewashes” with the support of the US administration.
Remember 78yo 'Umar As'ad عمر أسعد, the Palestinian American killed by Israel back in January? The U.S. "condemned", Israel promised to "investigate".
That was 4 months ago.
Israel doesn't investigate. Israel whitewashes. And the Biden administration is complicit. https://t.co/bWNvo7spDK
— Hagai El-Ad חגי אלעד حجاي إلعاد (@HagaiElAd) May 11, 2022
The UN and several other groups have also supported the call for an independent investigation into the killing.
Our Office is on the ground verifying the facts.
We urge an independent, transparent investigation into her killing. Impunity must end. pic.twitter.com/EnAYvgHDpv
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 11, 2022
Throughout Wednesday, condolences and condemnations for the Israeli killing of Akleh poured in. Over 20 progressive media outlets including TeleSUR, Pan African TV, Al-Mayadeen and Brasil De Fato issued a joint statement on Wednesday expressing their solidarity with the Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation and condemning Akleh’s “brutal assasination” by Israeli forces.