The head of Israeli civil rights organization Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center pinned the responsibility for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al-Jazeera journalist, on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court, Fox News Digital can now reveal. 

“It is obvious that the PLO’s (Palestine Liberation Organization’s) terrorist gangs in Jenin are the more reasonable shooters to be suspected and held liable for the reporter’s death,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, who filed the suit, told Fox News Digital.

“Abu Mazen (Abbas) should also answer for his responsibility for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror attacks, as a whole, and the killing of the late Abu Akleh.” 

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., Israel and the European Union, is the armed wing of the Fatah movement. Fatah is the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the dominant faction in the PLO. Abbas is at the same time president PA, chairman of the PLO and chairman of Fatah. 

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Mourners hold a banner depicting slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as they walk from the Old City of Jerusalem to her burial site May 13, 2022. 

Mourners hold a banner depicting slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as they walk from the Old City of Jerusalem to her burial site May 13, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed May 11 during an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) raid to root out terrorists in Jenin, operating under the umbrella of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, also a U.S., EU and Israel-designated terrorist organization. 

The IDF raid followed Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel. The death of Abu Akleh, a U.S. citizen, has led to widespread speculation about who killed the journalist during the heavy exchange of gunfire with accusations claiming she was intentionally hit by the Israeli troops, something they have vehemently denied.

The controversy comes a week before President Biden’s planned visit to Israel and the region, with Abu Akleh’s tragic death seen as being a growing point of contention with the Palestinians following the result of a U.S. State Department analysis.

“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 Akleh,” the State Department’s website noted. “Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.” 

However, the same forensic analysis — in what critics say seems to contradict the lack of knowledge about the origin of the fatal bullet — suggests the bullet probably came from an IDF position. 

According to the State Department’s statement, “Gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional.” 

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The Jerusalem Post reported that the result would likely lead to friction between President Biden and Abbas ahead of their planned meeting in Bethlehem next week. 

“The Biden administration deceived us,” a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah, told the Post. “We thought they were going to hold an independent and professional investigation. Instead, they fully endorsed the Israeli narrative.”

A poster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Nablus. Abbas is expected to meet President Biden next week in the West Bank. 

A poster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Nablus. Abbas is expected to meet President Biden next week in the West Bank. 
(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Fox News Digital sent press queries to the PA and to its mission at the United Nations but got no response as of publication time.

Shurat HaDin said it welcomes the independent U.S. forensic analysis’ findings, according to which “the ballistic experts determined the bullet (which was provided by the PA) was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.” 

The NGO also noted that “due to the dubious chain of custody over the bullet, which was [initially] withheld by the PA, there are two options as to the authenticity of the bullet which was supplied by the PA to the American team: If it is the original bullet, then the PA — having their own ballistic experts — has known for months that the bullet cannot incriminate Israel and deliberately withheld it to scapegoat Israel for the death of the reporter.” 

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The second possibility, Shurat HaDin continued, is that “this is not the true bullet, and an untraceable bullet was deliberately provided by the Palestinians to the investigation team.”

There are now dueling legal actions in the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. The International Federation of Journalists is a partner in a complaint lodged against Israel for the death of Abu Akleh, the Palestine Chronicle reported Tuesday. 

“U.S. authorities should not rest until those responsible for the death of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh are identified and held to account,” Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said Tuesday.

An Israeli army checkpoint controls the street leading to the West Bank city of Jenin April 12, 2022. 

An Israeli army checkpoint controls the street leading to the West Bank city of Jenin April 12, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Shurat HaDin said it disclosed “new information on the circumstances leading to the incident in Jenin” in its complaint to the ICC. 

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The “IDF had acted upon Abbas’ personal request to refrain from entering the Jenin [refugee] camp, allegedly in order to allow the PA’s security forces to assert control over the area,” the group said. “Yet, the PA either failed in this effort or deliberately allowed Jenin to become a hornet’s nest of terror, where a new alliance between the AAMB [Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades] and the Islamic Jihad terrorist group was made, establishing the joint ‘Jenin Battalion’ that was involved in the gunfire exchange during the incident.” 

In April, Raad Hazem, a 28-year-old Palestinian from Jenin, killed three people and wounded six others in a crowded bar in Tel Aviv. That attack followed a series of other terrorist incidents throughout Israel in March that resulted in the death of 11 people. 



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