Blinken appears to blame IDF for Death of Al Jazeera journalist, demands ‘accountability’

July 31, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appears to be placing the blame for the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akleh on the IDF and has demanded “accountability from Israel.”

Palestinians walk past a mural of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on May 16, 2022. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90

Abu Akleh was killed during an encounter between IDF forces and terrorists in the Jenin Refugee Camp on May 11 as the IDF was operating to arrest terror suspects. The IDF has launched an investigation into the incident.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke on Saturday with Blinken, during which the latter “raised the tragic killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the need for accountability,” the State Department said.

In response, Gantz noted that the IDF is “working to complete its investigation of the events that led to the passing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and said that Israel will share the investigation results with the US upon its completion.”

Blinken has made no such demands of the Palestinian Authority.

An IDF investigation has concluded that it is not possible to “unequivocally” determine the source of the gunfire which killed Abu Akleh, and she may have been killed by the terrorists’ gunfire or by IDF shots toward the terrorists.

The IDF said that it is possible that during the exchange of fire between the terrorists and IDF soldiers, a soldier fired a few bullets from a designated firing hole in an IDF vehicle using a telescopic scope at a terrorist who was shooting at his vehicle. There is the possibility that Abu Akleh, who was near the terrorist from behind, was hit by the soldier’s fire toward the terrorist. The distance between the IDF vehicle and Abu Akleh was approximately 200 meters.

The IDF has stated that it “expresses its deep condolences over the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, sees great importance in preserving the freedom of the press and will continue operating to ensure it. The IDF will continue to thwart terrorism wherever it is required to and uphold its missions while continuing its efforts to avoid harming non-combatants.”

At the beginning of July, the State Department stated that “after an extremely detailed forensic analysis, independent, third-party examiners, as part of a process overseen by the US Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.”

However, based on both the IDF and PA investigations, the USSC concluded that “gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”

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 in Jenin, which followed a series of terrorist attacks in Israel.”

“We will remain engaged with Israel and the PA on the next steps and urge accountability,” it stressed.

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