“All the information we collected – including official information from the Israeli army and the Palestinian attorney general – is consistent with the conclusion that the shots that killed Abu Okla and wounded her colleague Ali Al-Samudi came from the Israeli security forces,” spokeswoman Ravina said. Al-Shamdasani said in statement.
It added that Abu Okla was not shot “as a result of indiscriminate shooting by Palestinian gunmen, as the Israeli authorities initially claimed.”
Abu Okla, a reporter with decades of experience covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was fatally shot in the head early in the morning of May 11, while writing about an Israeli. Storming the city of Jenin in the West Bank. Witnesses said the shooting appeared to have come from a convoy of Israeli military vehicles, but Israeli officials said she was likely killed by Palestinian fire before she got back on track, saying it was likely an Israeli soldier had shot her unintentionally.
The UN conclusions – which included the finding that “several well-aimed individual bullets” were fired at Abu Akleh and three other journalists from the direction of Israeli forces – reflect the conclusions of several independent investigations, including a review by the Washington Post, which found that the forces The Israeli was most likely the one who fired the fatal shot.
An Israeli military statement on Friday did not directly address the UN findings, but said Israel continued to investigate the shooting and concluded that “Abu Okla was not deliberately shot by an Israeli soldier and that it was not possible to determine whether she was killed by a Palestinian.” “. An armed man shoots indiscriminately in its area or unintentionally by an IDF soldier.”
The statement blamed the Palestinian Authority for refusing Israeli requests to share the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, saying it “reveals their motives.”
In a separate statement, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the UN investigation “baseless.”
The UN findings – along with investigations by The Post, New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, and investigative group Bellingcat – added to pressure on the White House to address Abu Akle’s killing, just weeks before President Biden’s scheduled travel. to Israel.
On Thursday, 24 US senators Sent a message to Biden Urges the United States to “participate directly in the investigation” into the killing of Abu Akleh. Noting the lack of progress toward an independent investigation – and the fact that Abu Okla was an American – the letter said the US government “has an obligation to ensure that a thorough, impartial and open investigation into her shooting death is conducted.”
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council said the United States was “not currently conducting a formal investigation” into the killing but was “working to bridge cooperation between the parties.” The spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic discussions, declined to respond directly when asked if Biden would raise the issue of Abu Akleh’s killing with the Israelis.
On the day Abu Okla was killed, IDF spokesman Ran Kochav acknowledged the incident in a tweet at 7:45 a.m., saying, “The possibility of journalists being hit is being investigated, possibly by Palestinian fire.”
Later that morning, he told Army Radio that it was “probable” that a Palestinian gunman was responsible. By the end of the day, Gantz retracted those assertions and said that an Israeli soldier might also be responsible for firing the fatal shot.
But a week after the killing, the military said it had found no evidence of criminal behavior in the death. As a result, officials said, there will be no investigation into the military police shooting – a process that would have led to the public disclosure of the investigation’s findings.
“More than six weeks after the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh and the injury of her colleague Ali Al-Samudi in Jenin on May 11, 2022, it is deeply worrying that the Israeli authorities have not conducted a criminal investigation,” the UN human rights statement read. Law Office said.
Palestinians and human rights workers have said for years that the Israeli military justice system creates an atmosphere of impunity for soldiers suspected of violent crimes against Palestinians, including murder.
The last time an Israeli soldier was tried by a military court was in 2016. The soldier, a combat medic, was filmed in a video shooting at a Palestinian attacker who was lying on the ground. The Israeli soldier, then 19, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, sparking outrage almost across the political spectrum, from Palestinians who said it was a sham trial of many Israelis who argued that a soldier in a difficult combat situation could not be prosecuted. Others said the controversy over the trial itself reflects the deep-rooted normalization of Israel’s violent occupation of the Palestinians.
Shlomo Laker, an Israeli lawyer who has represented Palestinian families whose relatives were killed by Israeli soldiers, said he believed that international pressure in the Abu Okla case would only reduce the likelihood of a thorough and transparent investigation. He said the military, from the start, was committed to protecting its institutional norms, according to which “soldiers are accustomed to the fact that they will never face punishment.”
“The military is betting on the fact that diplomats and others who are pushing for an investigation will give up soon enough,” he added.
mail check – Based on a review of dozens of videos, social media posts and photos of the event, physical previews of the area, and two independent audio analyzes – it was found that an Israeli soldier had shot and killed Abu Okla. Audio analyzes of what was likely a fatal gunshot indicated a person who fired from an estimated distance roughly the same as the distance between the journalists and the IDF convoy.
A Washington Post review found no evidence of Palestinian militant activity in the immediate vicinity of where Abu Okla was standing with a group of other journalists before the killing.
“The perpetrators must be held accountable,” the UN statement said.
Ward Fahim from Istanbul. Yasmine Abu Talib in Washington contributed to this report.
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