The Biden administration said Monday that the Israeli military may have killed Shereen Abu Aklih, a Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter – just nine days before President Biden arrived on a high-level visit to the Jewish state.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Abu Aklih, 51, may have been killed by Israeli gunfire during coverage of a May 11 military raid on a suspected Islamic Jihad site in Jenin in the West Bank. That was claimed by the Palestinians.
However, Price also said that the forensic analysis of the bullet given by the Palestinian Authority was inconclusive.
“After a highly detailed forensic analysis, independent, third-party inspectors, as part of a process overseen by the US Security Coordinator (USSC), have been investigating the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shereen Abu. “The ballistic experts determined that the bullet was badly damaged, which led to no clear results,” Price said.
But Price said the additional analysis could lead to possible allegations against Israel.
“In addition to forensic and ballistic analysis, the USSC has been given full access to investigations by both the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the past several weeks. Summarizing both investigations, the USSC concluded: That firing from IDF positions may have been responsible for the death of Shirin Abu Aklih, “Price said.
The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional but was the result of tragic events during the IDF-led military operation against Palestinian Islamic Jihad factions in Jenin on May 11, 2022. A series of terrorist attacks began in Israel. “
It is unclear how this attribution could affect US-Israeli relations before Biden’s visit, or how Palestinian activists will react to US finger-pointing at Israel.
The president’s next visit will be his most challenging international mission to date and is expected to visit Bethlehem in the West Bank – Abu Aklih’s father’s hometown – to reduce record gas prices. Before traveling to Saudi Arabia.
Abu Aklih was wearing a blue bulletproof jacket that said “press” when he was shot in the head.
Al Jazeera producer Ali Samudi Told NPR Immediately after the incident, Israeli troops allowed TV crews to enter a house that had been surrounded before three shots were fired – one of which was attacking Abu Aklih. He said he believed the Israeli military was responsible.
But then-Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett At that time he said, “According to the information we have gathered, it appears that armed Palestinians – who were firing indiscriminately at the time – were responsible for the journalist’s unfortunate death.”
A photo of the scene shows Abu Aklih lying on the ground with his female companion, shaken by the shell. Both women were wearing helmets and vests.
Abu Aklih has been with Al Jazeera since 1997. She was born in Jerusalem to a Palestinian Christian family and later Obtained US citizenship. Living with family in New Jersey
The Israeli military carried out the attack amid rising tensions between Palestinians and Israeli officials, including clashes in Jerusalem and acts of Palestinian terrorism. Abu Aklih’s death worsened the situation – clashes broke out between mourners and Israeli officials during his funeral procession, which caused the journalist’s coffin to almost fall to the ground.
Biden described his July 13-16 visit to the Middle East as an attempt to promote peace in the region as well as Israel’s interests.
The president even claimed that the purpose of his visit to Saudi Arabia was not to help reduce US gas prices, but to help Israel. In Saudi Arabia, Biden will try to treat Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman well after he was previously tried for ignoring his alleged role in the 2018 assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. ۔
Speaking at a news conference in Madrid on Thursday after last week’s NATO summit, Biden said he was “going to Israel to meet with Israeli leaders to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States.”
“And part of the goal – a trip to the Middle East – is to deepen Israel’s integration into the region, which I think we’re going to do and what is good – good for peace and good for Israeli security,” the president said. Added. And that’s why Israeli leaders have come out strongly for me to go to Saudi. [Arabia]”
Biden took office following a series of pro-Israel moves by the Trump administration, including the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognition of Israel’s controversial annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria.
Jared Kishner, son-in-law of former President Donald Trump, helped broker the Ibrahim Accord in 2020, which laid the groundwork for diplomatic relations between Israel and the four Arab states.