(Ramallah) Several thousand Palestinians on Thursday paid tribute to one of their own, star journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was shot dead during an Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank, with the United States and many countries condemning her death and calling for a “transparent” investigation.
Palestinian officials, foreign diplomats and a crowd of Palestinians took part in the official ceremony in Ramallah, at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank, where the journalist’s coffin wrapped in the Palestinian flag was carried.
“We lived with Shireen. Her voice entered every house and her disappearance is a wound in our hearts, “said Hadil Hamdan, 45, who came to pay tribute to the memory of the journalist, who was shot in the head on Wednesday in Jenin in the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory. by Israel for more than 50 years.
The Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas has rejected calls for a joint investigation with Israel into his death. She, as well as the Qatari channel Al Jazeera for which the reporter worked, accused the Israeli army of having killed her.
Israel, after saying that she “probably” succumbed to Palestinian gunfire, said it did not rule out that the bullet was fired by its soldiers.
“We hold the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for his death,” Mr. Abbas said during the ceremony, explaining his refusal of a joint investigation by saying that “the Israeli authorities committed this crime and we do not hold it against them. not trust “. He said he wanted to go to the International Criminal Court.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Christian Palestinian who also holds American nationality, wore a bulletproof vest with “press” logo and a news helmet in Jenin.
The announcement of his death aroused great emotion in the Palestinian Territories, in the Arab world where his reports have been followed for more than two decades, in Europe and in the United States.
Several spontaneous rallies took place in the Palestinian Territories to protest against his death and a street in Ramallah will be renamed in his name.
Shireen “was the sister of all Palestinians,” her brother Antoun Abu Akleh told AFP on Wednesday, her voice choked with tears. “What happened cannot be glossed over […] She will not be forgotten.”
His body was transferred to Jerusalem where his funeral is to be held Friday in a church.
The Israeli army has launched several operations in recent weeks in the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of Palestinian armed factions in the northern West Bank from which the perpetrators of deadly attacks in Israel originated.
Al Jazeera accused Israeli forces of “deliberately” and “cold-blooded” killing of its star journalist.
Immediately after her death, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett suggested that she “probably” succumbed to gunfire from Palestinian fighters.
But hours later, her defense minister Benny Gantz said the military “wasn’t sure how she was killed.”
“It may have been a Palestinian who shot her […] The shot may have also come from our side, we are investigating,” he said.
“We need forensic evidence” from the Palestinians, including the bullet that killed the journalist, in order to conduct a “full” investigation, Gantz said.
Israel demanded the bullet from the Palestinians so that “a scientific investigation to trace the origin of the shot” could be carried out, an Israeli security source told AFP.
The Jewish state has also offered Palestinian and American officials “to be present” during the review, according to the same source.
“Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority prevents at this stage any possibility of a joint investigation or even access to the elementary conclusions which are necessary to reach the truth,” Naftali Bennett criticized Thursday.
“The investigation must be completely independent,” said Hussein al-Sheikh, a Palestinian Authority heavyweight, promising to release the results “with great transparency.”
The United States has “strongly condemned the killing” and called for a “transparent” investigation, preferably joint between Israelis and Palestinians. Both the UN and the European Union have urged an “independent” investigation.
Visiting Tehran on Thursday, the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani accused Israel of killing the journalist. “The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be held to account,” he said.
The Jewish state also approved nearly 4,500 housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, including more than 2,700 permanently, according to the Israeli organization “Peace Now”. Israeli settlement is illegal under international law.