The Palestinian Authority over the weekend reiterated its refusal to hold a joint investigation with Israel into the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh.
The PA’s refusal to cooperate with Israel in the investigation came amid reports that the US had exerted pressure on the Palestinians in this regard.
A PA official said that the Palestinians were prepared to “fully cooperate” with the US and other parties on the case. Abu Akleh, 51, was a US citizen and held an Israeli ID card in her capacity as a resident of Jerusalem.
On Thursday, senior PLO official Hussein al-Sheikh, who is considered No. 2 in the PA leadership, said that the Palestinians won’t hand over to Israel the bullet that was removed from the head of Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot early Wednesday while covering an IDF operation in Jenin.
On Saturday, al-Sheikh, who serves as PA Civil Affairs Minister, said that the Palestinians “welcome the participation of all international bodies in the investigation.”
Sheikh said that these bodies should contact the Palestinian Public Prosecution, which issued its initial report about the incident on Friday night.
Sheikh added that what happened during the funeral of Abu Akleh in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon “reinforces our position that rejects Israel’s participation in this investigation.”
He was referring to the violence that erupted between Palestinians and the Israel Police at the French Hospital in east Jerusalem, where the funeral procession began.
A statement issued by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Public Prosecution said that an initial investigation has shown that Abu Akleh was shot by IDF soldiers.
According to the statement, “the only source of gunfire at the scene where Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed was the Israeli occupation forces.”
The prosecution said that while it was continuing the investigation into “the heinous crime committed by the occupation forces, preliminary investigations concluded that the only source of fire at the scene of the crime was from the occupation forces,” adding that the investigations so far indicated that the IDF soldiers “deliberately committed their crime.”
It further claimed that “fresh traces and marks on the tree near which she was hit were a result of direct shooting towards the crime scene,” as well as claiming that “the position of the nearest occupation force was about 150 meters away when Shireen Abu Akleh was shot while wearing a journalist’s uniform and a protective helmet.”
The prosecution said that the results of the initial forensic medical report indicated that the direct cause of death was a laceration of the brain caused by a high-velocity projectile penetrating into the skull cavity through the entrance wound, after which it exited from the cavity through the exit wound, hit the inner side of the protective helmet and rebounded to settle inside the lacerated tissues inside the skull.
The projectile was extracted from the head of Abu Akleh and sent to the crime laboratory to prepare a detailed technical report on the matter, it said.
The Palestinian prosecution said that its representatives will hold a press conference to announce the final results of the investigation as soon as it is completed and vowed to continue documenting Israeli “crimes” in preparation for bringing them before the International Criminal Court.