The Israeli Minister of Diaspora, Nachman Shai, said yesterday that Israel lacks the needed "credibility" to investigate the killing of Al Jazeera reporter, Shireen Abu Akleh.
"With all due respect to us, let's say that Israel's credibility is not very high in such cases. We know this. It is based on the past," Shai, a former spokesperson for the Israeli army, said in an interview with Radio 103FM.
He added that there may be a need to recruit an American pathologist or a pathologist of "another nationality who could give the international dimension and also add credibility to this investigation."
Remarking on the US demand to investigate Abu Akleh's killing, Shai said: "While [cabinet] ministers and the IDF chief of staff [Aviv Kohavi] have stated that they will open an investigation, [the US] wants to know the truth and they will pressure us, they will not let go until this affair is over. This is clear."
"The response of the army chief of staff, the ministers and the prime minister was certainly correct and fast as well, but this is good for this stage. Now we should go to the investigation and propose to the Palestinians [forming] a joint team accompanied by an international body acceptable to both sides," he added.
Remarking on the Palestinian Authority's refusal to hand over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, the minister said: "They [Palestinians] have the body, the bullet, so it is very difficult to conduct an investigation in air if you cannot see the body itself."
"We will not open an external investigation. The main thing that I want to know, and we must know, is that did the shooting come from our forces or from the Palestinians who were there?"
Shai's remarks were slammed by opposition figures in Israel.
Opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu condemned in a statement what he said were "the lies being uttered against our soldiers — not only those coming from the Palestinians, but also the shameful remarks made by members of [Prime Minister] Bennett's coalition."
"The false slanders against our soldiers that are heard from within the coalition prove once again that a government that depends on terror supporters cannot fight terrorism and is unable to protect our soldiers," the statement read.
Meanwhile, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll described Shai's statements as "miserable and out of touch with reality".