Tributes, pain and calls for an investigation… Several thousand Palestinians paid tribute on Thursday to one of their own, journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead during an Israeli military operation. The United States and many countries condemn his death and demand a “transparent” investigation.

Palestinian officials, foreign diplomats and a crowd of Palestinians took part in the official ceremony in Ramallah, at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank, where the journalist’s coffin wrapped in the Palestinian flag was carried.

For Israel, she “probably” succumbed to Palestinian fire

“We lived with Shireen. Her voice entered every house and her disappearance is a wound in our hearts, “said Hadil Hamdan, 45, who came to pay tribute to the memory of the journalist, who was shot in the head on Wednesday in Jenin in the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory. by Israel for more than fifty years.

The Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas has rejected calls for a joint investigation with Israel into his death. She, like the Qatari channel Al Jazeera for which the reporter worked, accused the Israeli army of having killed her. Israel, after saying that she had “probably” succumbed to Palestinian fire, said it did not rule out that the bullet was fired by its soldiers.

Strong emotion

“We hold the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for his death,” said Mahmoud Abbas during the ceremony, explaining his refusal of a joint investigation by the fact that “the Israeli authorities committed this crime and we do not trust “. He said he wanted to go to the International Criminal Court.

Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Christian Palestinian who also has American nationality, wore a bullet-proof vest marked “press” and a reporter’s helmet in Jenin. The announcement of his death aroused great emotion in the Palestinian Territories, in the Arab world where his reports have been followed for more than two decades, in Europe and in the United States.

Accusation of “deliberate” shooting

Several spontaneous rallies took place in the Palestinian Territories to protest against his death and a street in Ramallah will be renamed in his name. His body was transferred to Jerusalem where his funeral is to be held Friday in a church.

The Israeli army has launched several operations in recent weeks in the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of Palestinian armed factions in the northern West Bank from which the perpetrators of deadly attacks in Israel originated. Al Jazeera accused Israeli forces of “deliberately” and “cold blooded” killing of its star journalist.

“Forensic Evidence”

Immediately after her death, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett suggested that she “probably” succumbed to gunfire from Palestinian fighters. But a few hours later, her defense minister Benny Gantz said the army “was not sure how she was killed”.

“It may have been a Palestinian who shot her (…) The shot may also have come from our side, we are investigating,” he said. “We need forensic evidence” from the Palestinians, including the bullet that killed the journalist, in order to carry out a “full” investigation, Benny Gantz said. The Jewish state also offered Palestinian and American officials “to be present” during the examination, according to the same source.

Joint or independent investigation

“Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority prevents at this stage any possibility of a joint investigation or even access to the elementary conclusions which are necessary to reach the truth”, criticized Naftali Bennett on Thursday.

“The investigation must be completely independent,” said Hussein al-Sheikh, a tenor from the Palestinian Authority, promising to make the results public “with great transparency”. The United States has “strongly condemned the murder” and called for a “transparent” investigation, preferably joint between Israelis and Palestinians. The UN and the European Union have urged an “independent” investigation.


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