Prime Minister Yair Lapid slammed the US Administration's decision to launch an FBI investigation into the death of Al Jazeera Shireen Abu Aqleh during the swearing-in ceremony for the 25th Knesset Tuesday.
“The IDF is a moral and ethical army. IDF soldiers and their commanders defend the State of Israel. The IDF thoroughly investigates any irregular event and is committed to the values and laws of democracy,"
"Our soldiers will not be investigated by the FBI or by any other foreign country or entity, however friendly it may be. We will not abandon our soldiers to foreign investigations. We have conveyed our strong protest to the United States,” he added.
The FBI investigation into the death of Abu Aqleh, which occurred during a shootout between IDF forces and Arab terrorists in Jenin on May 11, was revealed yesterday.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the Biden Administration's decision to launch its own investigation after Israel had conducted an investigation with the cooperation of the US a "mistake."
“The IDF has conducted a professional, independent investigation, which was presented to American officials with whom the case details were shared. I have delivered a message to US representatives that we stand by the IDF’s soldiers, and that we will not cooperate with an external investigation,” said Gantz.
The IDF investigation had concluded that while there was a "high possibility" that Abu Aqleh was accidentally struck by a bullet fired by an IDF soldier, it was not possible to determine with any certainty that that is what occurred. In addition, the bullet which killed her proved to be too damaged to determine which gun it had been fired from upon analysis under the supervision of professional representatives from the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC).
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in response to the publication of the results of the IDF's investigation: “We welcome Israel’s review of this tragic incident, and again underscore the importance of accountability in this case, such as policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future."
In July, the US released the results of the ballistic examination of the bullet which Abu Aqleh
The State Department said: "After an extremely detailed forensic analysis, independent, third-party examiners, as part of a process overseen by the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh. Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion."