Israel's Herzog: CNN Investigation on Palestinian Journalist's Death Is 'Fake Facts'

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, the Israeli president called Shireen Abu Akleh's killing during a military raid in Jenin 'very sad,' but dismissed claims she was targeted by Israeli soldiers

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Israeli President Isaac Herzog speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesd
Israeli President Isaac Herzog speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.Credit: Gian Ehrenzeller /AP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

President Issac Herzog called on Wednesday the death of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh "a very sad event," but said that a CNN report suggesting she was killed by deliberate Israeli fire "fake facts."

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Herzog said that the killing of the prominent Palestinian journalist two weeks ago during an Israeli military raid in Jenin "pains me, like it pains many other Israelis."

Herzog stressed in his remarks that Abu Akleh's death occurred in the context of "fighting terror in Jenin, following the assassination of so many Israelis" and that Israel offered the Palestinians a joint investigation but "unfortunately, the Palestinians refused."

"They took the body, they took the bullet, and one cannot substantiate any one of the scenarios without those facts," Herzog added.

The Palestinians have refused to hand over the bullet or cooperate with Israel in any way on the investigation, but say they will share the results of their own probe with any other party.

The network's investigation was based on 11 videos of the incident at the Jenin refugee camp earlier this month, at least one of which had been previously published, and the testimonies of eight eyewitnesses.

    The Israeli army has not ruled out the possibility that Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire, and the investigation does not directly contradict the army's findings. However, CNN's report suggests that the shooting was intentional, and that Israeli soldiers deliberately targeted journalists, which Israel disputes. CNN based their claim on footage, forensic findings, sound analysis of the gunshots and the eight eyewitness accounts.

    According to Herzog, "Israel was open and transparent and offered the United States to join this process of investigation … We've already gone through cases where we were blamed and the truth transpired later that there were a lot of fake facts, so that's why I said don't base yourself on fake facts." His office later clarified that he was referring to the CNN report.

    The Israeli military also rejected the CNN investigation. “The Israel Defense Forces is thoroughly investigating the circumstances of the reporter,” the military stated. “The interim report that was published found that it was impossible to determine the source of the shooting that hit and killed the reporter. The claim that the shooting was deliberate lacks any foundation.”

    Last week, 57 U.S. lawmakers demanded the U.S. State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations launch an investigation into Abu Akleh's death.

    The day before, Israel announced that no investigation will be launched on its part into the incident.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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