It’s an unexpected turnaround. Israeli and non-American experts will examine the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11 to determine the circumstances of her death, the Israeli army said on Sunday July 3.
“The test will not be American, the test will be an Israeli test with an American presence,” military spokesman Ran Kochav told Army Radio. “We are waiting for the results, if we killed her, we will take the responsibility,” he added, without specifying whether or not the expertise had started.
The Palestinian Authority did not immediately comment officially on these Israeli statements. But a Palestinian official told Agence France-Presse, on condition of anonymity, that they raised questions about whether the Americans could be “trusted”.
On Saturday, the Palestinian prosecutor Akram Al-Khatib thus affirmed that the fatal bullet to the journalist of the Al-Jazeera channel, killed while covering an Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank, had been handed over to the United States with a view to expertise by American experts. Palestinian sources in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, said on Saturday that the expertise would be carried out at the United States Embassy in Jerusalem by Americans.
The Palestinian refusal
The Palestinian Authority has always refused to hand over the bullet to the Israeli army accused of killing the journalist by the Palestinian authorities, Al-Jazeera, Qatar and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Journalistic investigations have also pointed in the direction of the Israeli army.
Israel has denied all of these accusations. The Israeli army keeps saying that it is “impossible to determine whether [the journalist] was killed by a Palestinian gunman firing indiscriminately in the area where she was, or inadvertently by an Israeli soldier”.
She has also called repeatedly, but in vain, on the Palestinian Authority to give her the fatal bullet, the only way according to the soldiers to really determine who fired. The Palestinians had asked the Israelis to hand over the suspect weapon.
The journalist was wearing a bulletproof vest with the word “press” written on it and a protective helmet when she was hit by a bullet just below the cut of her helmet, outside the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank , Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.