The United States said on Tuesday it opposed Al Jazeera taking the killing of Palestinian Arab-American reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh to the International Criminal Court.
"We oppose it," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, as quoted by the AFP news agency.
"The ICC should focus on its core mission, and that core mission is of serving as a court of last resort in punishing and deterring atrocity crimes," he added.
Al Jazeera announced Tuesday morning that it will file a complaint with the ICC, accusing Israeli forces of deliberately shooting Abu Aqleh.
"The claim by the Israeli authorities that Shireen was killed by mistake in an exchange of fire is completely unfounded," the outlet claimed.
The move was denounced by Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who said, "No one will investigate IDF soldiers and no one will preach to us about morals in warfare, certainly not Al Jazeera."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz offered his condolences to Abu Aqleh's family, while slamming Al Jazeera over its petition to the ICC.
“I expressed my condolences following the passing of Shireen Abu Aqleh. At the same time, we must remember that this was a combat scenario, which was investigated thoroughly."
"I suggest that [international] officials and Al Jazeera representatives go investigate what is happening to reporters in Iran and nearby regions where Al Jazeera operates. There is no other military that operates under the moral standards of the IDF, and I would like to emphasize my full support and that of the entire defense establishment, to the commanders and soldiers who are defending the citizens of Israel.”
Abu Aqleh was shot dead while covering clashes between IDF soldiers and terrorists in Jenin. The IDF released a report on Abu Aqleh’s death in September. The report found that it was not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the gunfire from which Abu Aqleh was hit and killed.
The report said that there is a high possibility Abu Aqleh was accidentally hit by IDF gunfire, but it is also possible that she was hit by gunfire from Palestinian Arab terrorists.
Eventually, the PA finally agreed to a forensic investigation by the US of the bullet that they claim killed Abu Aqleh.