The latest development comes following various investigations by rights groups, news outlets, and testimonies of witnesses—all pointing to Israel deliberately killing the journalist.
The US will technically examine the bullet used by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) to kill veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Palestine’s news agency (WAFA) reported on Saturday.
Palestinian Attorney-General Akram Al-Khatib told the news agency that the bullet was handed over to experts in the country to investigate the killing, noting it will not be given to Israeli forces.
This comes amid global calls for an independent investigation almost two months after the tragic murder of the journalist, who was working on covering a raid in Jenin at the time of the shooting. It also follows damning UN findings that pointed the blame at Israel, as per evidence.
“We are confident and certain of our investigations and the results we have reached,” said the Palestinian official.
The journalist was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper on 11 May while she was covering the Zionist state’s raids of Jenin as it seeks to expand its illegal settlements.
Donning a flak jacket and helmet, Abu Akleh clearly identified as a member of the press.
The sniper, who admitted to the crime, had deliberately targeted a precise area in her head that was not covered with the helmet, completely shattering her skull, per testimonies by her life-long colleague Givara Budeiri.
In May, the Public Prosecution’s report on the killing found that Abu Akleh was shot using “an armor-piercing projectile”. The bullet was later marked as a US-made, 5.56 mm round with a steel component used by NATO forces, dismissing Israeli claims that Palestinians fired the bullet.
Despite Al-Khatib’s claims that Israel will not intervene in the examination of the bullet, the IOF said on Sunday that it will examine the bullet “in the presence” of the Americans, as Al Jazeera reported.
Numerous evidence and lack of accountability
The latest development in the case of Abu Akleh comes following various investigations by rights groups, news outlets, and testimonies of witnesses.
Last week, the UN found that the bullet was fired by Israeli forces after inspecting photo, video and audio material, visited the scene, consulted experts, reviewed official communications and interviewed witnesses.
Speaking to Doha News, Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the International Criminal Court to pursue ongoing Israeli violations against Palestinians.
“All the evidence, including multiple serious, independent investigations, point to Israeli forces having gunned down Shireen Abu Akleh. Israeli authorities have a long track record of whitewashing abuses and have given every indication that they’ll do the same here,” Shakir said.
Despite the evidence, there has been a lack of accountability with the Israeli regime for killing the journalist, as well as mass crackdown on mourners that followed, in particular during her mass funeral. One of the pallbearers carrying Abu Akleh’s coffin was later detained by the Zionist state and was questioned.
Tel Aviv media outlet, Haaretz, reported in May that Israel will not be conducting a criminal probe into the funeral attacks.
“The killing and assault on Abu Akleh’s funeral procession took place amid a larger context where serious abuses are being committed with impunity. Victims of these grave abuses have faced a wall of impunity in Israel over many decades,” said Shakir.
Pressure on Biden administration
There has been mounting pressure on the US Joe Biden administration to conduct an investigation into the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist. As Israel’s main ally and backer that pumps billions of dollars into its economy, the US has found itself under fire for not holding Tel Aviv to account.
Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on the Biden administration to conduct a thorough probe.
“While your administration has called for an investigation, more than one month after Abu Akleh’s killing, only journalists have carried out serious probes of the incident,” said the CPJ.
Under pressure from journalists, the US had called for an independent investigation into the killing of the Palestinian journalist. This came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was heckled at a conference in June.
“We are determined to follow the facts and get to the truth of what happened,” he said, though he denied any details of the incident have been conclusively established.
This was a clear change of stance by Washington, which had only previously called for transparency.