JERUSALEM ( Associated Press) – Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority has formally requested US assistance in the investigation of the killing of a Palestinian-American reporter during an Israeli raid on the occupied West Bank, the State Department said on Wednesday. .
rebuilding an Associated Press The May 11 killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shirin Abu Akleh backed by Palestinian witnesses who say she was shot by Israeli soldiers. But Israel and the PA have sole authority over the potentially anecdotal evidence necessary for any final conclusion.
Israel says Abu Aqleh was killed during a complex gunfight between soldiers and Palestinian militants, and that only ballistic analysis of the bullet – which the PA has – and the soldiers’ guns, can determine whether one of them fired. fatal shot or not.
Third party involvement can remove serious mistrust between the parties, allowing a full and fair account of what happened. But there is no sign that either is ready to give up control of its investigation.
Israel has publicly called for a joint investigation with PA involving the US.
But this week, State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was “not aware of any requests for assistance” from either side. Asked during a press briefing on Wednesday – two weeks after Abu Akleh’s death – if the US was asked to participate or act as an observer, he stood by his previous answer.
“We have made clear to both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities that we expect the investigation to be transparent and fair, a full, thorough accounting of the circumstances of the killing of Shirin Abu Akleh,” Price said.
Any US involvement would require a request from both Israel and the PA, which manages parts of the occupied West Bank.
“Israeli officials publicly invited the United States to be part of the investigation,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat. He added that “similar messages were passed on on official channels” but declined to elaborate.
The Palestinian Authority says it is conducting its own investigation and will share the results with international parties. He has denied handing over the bullets or cooperating with Israel in any way, saying he does not trust Israel to investigate itself.
Within hours of his death, both the PA and Qatar-based Al Jazeera accused Israel of deliberately killing Abu Aqleh, but did not provide any specific evidence for the claim, which Israel strongly denies.
Ballistic analysis could potentially match the bullet to a specific firearm, but only if investigators have access to both. Israel and the Palestinians are unlikely to accept any of the other side’s conclusions.
Abu Akleh spent more than 25 years covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She was a widely known and respected On-air correspondent for Al Jazeera’s Arabic Service, where he reported on Israel’s nearly 55-year military occupation of the West Bank. He is now seen by Palestinians as a martyr for both journalism and his national struggle.
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.