Gantz to Palestinian Authority: “A Crude and Blatant Lie”

By Yisrael Price

Palestinian Attorney General Akram Al Khateeb, left, and spokesperson for the Palestinian Presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

YERUSHALAYIM – Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz rejected the Palestinian Authority claim on Thursday that its investigation proves that Israeli troops intentionally shot and killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during a firefight with Palestinian gunmen in Jenin on May 11.

“Any claim that the IDF intentionally targets journalists or those uninvolved [in terror] is a crude and blatant lie,” Gantz declared, adding that Israeli forces have long conducted counter-terror operations in Jenin and the military tries “as much as possible” to avoid striking uninvolved parties.

Gantz reiterated Israel’s call for the PA to share the evidence, including the bullet that killed her.

“Despite the many requests, the Palestinians refuse to cooperate, which raises the question if they really want to reach the truth,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority’s attorney general announced its findings that an Israeli soldier shot Abu Akleh in a targeted killing in Jenin on May 11.

The bullet that killed Abu Akleh is a 5.56 mm round with a steel component used by NATO forces, he said, adding that the Palestinian Authority will not hand the bullet over to Israel.

In a speech on Thursday, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said it was impossible to know who fired the bullet and once again called on the Palestinians to cooperate to “get to the bottom” of what happened, according to the AP.

“But there is one thing that can be determined with certainty,” the military chief said. “No soldier fired intentionally at a journalist. We investigated that. We checked it. That is the conclusion. There is no other.”

A lengthy report on CNN also accusing the IDF of intentionally shooting the journalist, was challenged by Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of the British military forces in Afghanistan.

Col. Kemp told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that CNN has “zero credible evidence” to back up their conclusions..

“In my view, the CNN report is rife with highly questionable assertions from their experts. Many of their assessments that suggest unequivocally that an IDF sniper deliberately targeted the journalist are very much open to question and in some cases could suggest the opposite of what they are saying. Equally, reliance on eye-witness statements in such an environment and presenting them as fact shows a lack of understanding or a simple desire to incriminate the IDF. In short, CNN produce zero credible evidence to support their inflammatory conclusion,” he said,

“It is irresponsible of a news organization to produce such a flimsy and questionable report and publish it as hard evidence against Israel. This amounts to anti-Israel propaganda that will undoubtedly be used to incite violence against Israelis as well as antisemitic hate around the world,” Kemp concluded.

Similarly, the Israeli military dismissed the CNN report. An IDF spokesperson told Maariv: “Since the incident occurred, the IDF has been investigating and clarifying the circumstances of the journalist’s death in an in-depth and thorough manner. The intermediate investigation that was publicized found that it is not possible to determine the source of fire that … killed the journalist.”

“The claim that the gunfire was targeted lacks any basis,” the spokesperson added.

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