By Team MEB in connection with Reuters
Independent investigators could not reach a definitive conclusion about the origin of the bullet that struck her, it said.
Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American, was killed on May 11 during an Israeli raid in the town of Jenin in the occupied West Bank under circumstances that remain bitterly disputed.
Palestinian officials criticised the report and maintained she had been deliberately targeted. Israel denies this.
One of the most recognizable faces reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abu Akleh’s death triggered outrage across the world, particularly after police beat mourners at her funeral in Jerusalem.
The U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), after summarizing investigations by both the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Palestinian Authority, concluded that gunfire from Israeli positions was likely to have been responsible for her death, the State Department said.
“The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” the State Department said in a statement.
In forensic analysis by third-party examiners overseen by the USSC, ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion as to its origin, the State Department said.
Palestinian general prosecutor Akram al-Khatib said the U.S. conclusion that the bullet was badly damaged was incorrect and said Abu Akleh had been deliberately targeted.
“The American statement that they found no reasons to indicate the targeting was deliberate is unacceptable,” Khatib said. The Palestinians would continue to pursue legal action against Israel at the International Criminal Court, he said.
“Israel was responsible for killing her and it has to be held accountable,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement.
The Palestinian argument over the bullet has actually helped evade the real issue of contention, the actions of the Israeli police in Abu Akleh’s funeral. The Palestinian Authority attempts to display the Israeli military as the murderers who kill innocent civilians, and indeed reporters without second thought.
However, this argument can be easily refuted by Israel and the US, as seen in the latest statement. In fact, the Palestinian focus must be concerning the actions of the police in Abu Akleh’s funeral, which is a clear violation of human rights, and the right of the deceased.
Unlike the killing itself, the funeral is fully documented, and the entire world was able to see police forces dispersing the crowd and beating the people who were defenceless, and carrying Abu Akleh’s casket.
The Israeli police comfortably neglected this issue, and no investigation over the decision to enter the funeral was made, and no responsibility. This is due to the fact that the eyes of the world was focused on the question of who shot the bullet, rather than the clear violation in the funeral itself.