Bennett Blasts Palestinians for Blocking Joint Probe of Reporter’s Death

By Hamodia Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the assembly hall of the Knesset (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – Prime Minister Naftali Bennett castigated the Palestinian Authority for rebuffing Israeli offers to hold a joint investigation into the death of an Al Jazeera journalist who was killed during a firefight between gunmen and Israeli troops during a raid in Jenin on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately the Palestinian Authority at this stage is preventing any possibility of a joint investigation or even access to basic findings required to reach the truth,” Bennett said.

“I reiterate my expectation for open, transparent and full cooperation on the findings and I also expect from the Palestinian Authority not to take any step to obstruct the investigation or contaminate the process,” he added.

At a memorial service for in Ramallah for Shireen Abu Akleh, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that he holds Israel responsible for her death and that the PA will take the matter to the International Criminal Court.

Regarding the proposal for a joint probe, he said: “They committed the crime and we do not trust them,” and that “Israel bears full responsibility for this crime and this crime cannot go unpunished.”

Despite the accusations by the Palestinians and their supporters, Bennett pledged that Israel will continue the counterterror raids in response to the wave of attacks in which 19 people were killed Hy”d.

Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, who is responsible for relations with Israel, said on Thursday morning that the PA has refused an Israeli request to hand over the bullet that was removed from the body of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed Wednesday morning during a gun battle between IDF troops and Palestinian terrorists in Jenin.

According to al-Sheikh, the investigation will be carried out independently by the PA and the findings will be given to the relevant bodies, including the U.S. Al-Sheikh said all signs indicate that the journalist was killed by IDF gunfire.

Several thousand Palestinians gathered at Al-Jazeera’s offices in Ramallah, holding signs with Abu Akleh’s picture.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry immediately launched a public relations campaign across the globe, claiming that Israel committed a war crime. Earlier, a senior PA official said that the PA had asked the Americans to order an independent investigation with international investigators.

The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization said via its branch in Jenin that the “occupation forces failed miserably in their effort to arrest the Palestinian fighters in Jenin. We will continue to be the protective armor of the Palestinian people, and the death of the shahid [martyr] Shireen Abu Akleh will not be in vain. We will not allow the enemy to invade our cities and villages without our resistance and we will force them to pay a price for their crimes.”

Meanwhile, a senior IDF official said the coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit had requested the bullet that was found in Abu Akleh’s body in order to run a forensic test to determine the source of the gunfire. For the sake of transparency, Israeli officials proposed that Palestinian and American representatives be present during the testing.

The White House strongly condemned the killing of Abu Akleh and called for an investigation into her death.

Al-Jazeera said in a statement that Israeli forces killed Abu Akleh, condemning it as “a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms.” The news outlet also said that Abu Akleh was wearing press gear that clearly identified her as a journalist when she was killed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a “thorough, objective investigation” into Abu Akleh’s killing, decrying it as a “horrific tragedy.”

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