MESOP MIDEAST WATCH: Abbas at Al Jazeera reporter’s funeral: ‘We will take Israel to ICC, we don’t trust them’

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas said he will go to the International Criminal Court to “punish the criminals” for her death.MAY 12, 2022 JERUSALEM POST

The funeral of Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh began on Thursday in Ramallah. Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas said he will go to the ICC to “punish the criminals” as her body travels from Ramallah in the West Bank to Jerusalem where she will be buried.

The Palestinian Authority confirmed on Thursday that it won’t allow Israel to examine the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, even though it is one of the steps needed to determine culpability in her death.

It has also rebuffed requests by Israel to hold a joint investigation into Abu Akleh’s death. The veteran journalist, well known throughout the Arab world for her coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was fatally shot in the also she was shot in the ear while wearing a helmet by a sniper while covering an IDF raid on Jenin on Wednesday.

“Israel has requested a joint investigation and to be handed over [sic] the bullet that assassinated the journalist Shireen, we refused that, and we affirmed that our investigation would be completed independently,” Palestinian Authority Minister and General Authority of Civil Affairs head Hussein al-Sheikh tweeted on Thursday morning.

“We will inform her family, #USA, #Qatar and all official authorities and the public of the results of the investigation with high transparency. All of the indicators, the evidence and the witnesses confirm her assassination by #Israeli special units,” al-Sheikh emphasized.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz had reached out to the PA in the hours after her death and offered to hold a joint investigation.

A senior security official said that “out of transparency,” Israel offered to have a PA and Israeli representative present during the forensic examination of the bullet, already known to be a 5.56mm one used both by the IDF and Palestinian gunmen.

The IDF confirmed that troops from the Duvdevan commando unit were located some 150m from Abu Akleh.

While a few dozen bullets were fired by IDF troops toward specific targets, head of the Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs told Channel 12 News on Wednesday night that there were thousands of bullets fired by assailants during the firefights.

According to reports, there were at least three locations of clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in Jenin on Wednesday morning.

Army Radio’s military and security correspondent Amir Bar-Shalom said Thursday that the IDF questioned all of the soldiers who were in the area at the time and physically mapped out where they were at the moment the bullet struck Abu Akleh.

According to a preliminary report, none of the snipers shot toward any particular target, he said. Proof of this, said Bar-Shalom, is that there were no armed Palestinians who were hurt.

Following Abu Akleh’s death, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi vowed to fully investigate the incident “using all the tools at our disposal in order to arrive at the truth,” appointing Commando Brigade head Col. Meni Liberty to lead the investigation.