Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Ra'am head Mansour Abbas

Israeli Islamist Ra'am party delays presser on future of coalition after journalist death

Party expected to clarify its decision on critical vote to dissolve Knesset, says reporter killed in Jenin refugee camp is a 'martyr', calls for international probe of fatal shooting

Moran Azulay |
Published: 05.11.22, 10:24
The Islamist Ra'am party announced the delay of its Wednesday presser on the party’s future in the coalition, following the death of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed near Jenin during a fire exchange between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen.
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  • Ra'am also condemned the incident, called Abu Akleh a "martyr" and sent condolences "to her family, to Al-Jazeera and to the Palestinian people in general."
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    השבעת הממשלה
    השבעת הממשלה
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Ra'am head Mansour Abbas
    (Photo: AFP)
    The Islamist party called for the establishment of an immediate international commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances of the journalist's death.
    Ra'am's announcement of the delay comes after the Islamist party held hours-long deliberations on Tuesday with the Shurah - religious council - to decide on whether to stay in the coalition. A decision was expected on Wednesday, hours before the opposition bloc intends to table legislation to dissolve the Knesset.
    Without the support of Ra’am -- who previously informed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that they were suspending their participation in the coalition -- the government will find it difficult to beat the opposition bill to dissolve the Knesset - since members of the predominantly Arab Joint List were also expected to support the bill.
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    עימותים בהר הבית
    עימותים בהר הבית
    Palestinian rioters on the Temple Mount during Ramadan
    (Photo: AFP )
    According to Ra’am, the party's main issue with the current government was over Israel's actions on the Al Aqsa Mosque, which was a flashpoint of recurring violence between Israeli security forces and Palestinian rioters during the holy month of Ramadan.
    The party was angered especially by the prime minister's comments earlier this week, that Israel alone has the authority over the site which is third in importance to Muslims, and have demanded that the status quo at the flashpoint area remain as is -- meaning Jews will be banned from reaching the Temple Mount.
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    תיעוד מבית החולים
    תיעוד מבית החולים
    Casualties of the Jenin shooting incident where al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed
    (Photo: AP )
    Ra’am was not the only one to condemn Abu Akleh’s death in Jenin Wednesday: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for the reporters' death -- as did the Al Jazeera network, who said that they “hold the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the murder of our colleague.”
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    שירין אבו עאקלה אל ג'זירה
    שירין אבו עאקלה אל ג'זירה
    Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett criticized the Palestinian president for making what he called unsubstantiated accusations blaming Israel for the killing.
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, meanwhile, said that Israel had offered the Palestinians a "joint pathological investigation" to investigate the death of Abu Akleh.
    "Journalists must be protected in battlefields, and we have a duty to find out the truth," Lapid wrote on his Twitter page.
    The IDF, for its part, expressed sadness over the incident, and said that the journalist may have been shot by the same gunmen who were targeting troops in the Jenin refugee camp.
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