“All the information we have gathered – including from the Israeli army and the Palestinian attorney general – corroborates the fact that the shots that killed Ms. Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from the Israeli security forces and not from indiscriminate attacks against armed Palestinians as initially claimed by the Israeli authorities,” High Commission spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said at a press briefing in Geneva.
“We found no information to suggest that there was any activity by armed Palestinians near the journalists,” Shamdasani said, saying it was “deeply disturbing that the Israeli authorities did not open a ‘judicial investigation”.
In recent weeks, journalistic investigations have also pointed in the direction of the Israeli army.
It quickly responded on Friday and rejected the UN version by almost copying and pasting its previous press releases and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks of an “unfounded” investigation.
Qatar TV reporter Al Jazeera ‘was not intentionally shot by an Israeli soldier and it is impossible to determine whether she was killed by a Palestinian gunman firing indiscriminately into the area where she was, or inadvertently by an Israeli soldier,” the army said in a statement.
– Visible, marked press –
“In accordance with our global human rights monitoring methodology, our Office inspected photo, video and audio material, visited locations, consulted with experts, reviewed official communications and interviewed witnesses. “, underlined the spokesperson of the High Commission.
On the basis of these elements, Ms. Bachelet’s services concluded that the journalists had chosen an approach “making them visible to the Israeli forces deployed in the street”.
“Our findings indicate that no warnings were issued and no shootings were taking place at this time and place,” Shamdasani said, noting that the journalists were wearing clearly marked protective gear.
It was then that several shots from the Israeli forces targeted them, she said.
Benny Gantz disputes and claims that the army “was the target of heavy fire during the events leading up to Ms. Shireen’s death, and responded appropriately”.
“So what’s going to happen now?”, “How many reports do we need to hold them accountable?”, the journalist’s niece, Lina Abu Akleh, asked on tweeter, in reference to the Israeli authorities.
The Israeli army reiterated on Friday its request to the Palestinian Authority to hand over the fatal bullet. It’s the only way she can really determine who fired.
According to the Palestinian prosecutor, it is a 5.56 mm caliber bullet fired by a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle.
The Palestinian Authority has always refused to return the bullet and asked the Israelis to hand over the weapon instead.
– Criminal investigation –
The reporter was wearing a bulletproof jacket with the word “press” written on it and a hard hat when she was hit by a bullet just below the cut of her helmet. She was on the outskirts of the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of Palestinian armed factions where Israeli forces were carrying out a raid.
Ms. Bachelet “continues to urge the Israeli authorities to open a criminal investigation into the murder of Ms. Abu Akleh and all other killings and serious injuries committed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and in the context of law enforcement operations in Gaza”.
According to the High Commission, since the beginning of 2022, Israeli security forces have killed 58 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 13 children.
“International human rights law requires a prompt, thorough, transparent, independent and impartial investigation into any use of force resulting in death or serious injury. The perpetrators must be held accountable,” Shamdasani stressed.