Biden aides welcome Israeli minister – even as he refuses to investigate killing of Palestinian-American journalist

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Washington - May 19, 2022 (Gantz)

Philip Weiss

Mondoweiss  /  May 19, 2022

A week ago the Biden administration said it was “heartbroken” by the killing of U.S. journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and called for a “thorough” investigation by Israel. Today it could care less.

The Israeli army today announced that it would not investigate the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11 in Jenin, despite compelling evidence from journalist eyewitnesses that an Israeli sniper killed her.

Last week, the U.S. government condemned Abu Akleh’s killing and called for a thorough investigation. Ned Pierce of the State Department:

We are heartbroken by and strongly condemn the killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank. The investigation must be immediate and thorough and those responsible must be held accountable. Her death is an affront to media freedom everywhere.

Well, a week is a long time in politics, and the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is officially no longer heartbreaking in the Biden administration. In fact, the Biden administration officially doesn’t care.

Today Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and issued a readout of the meeting that makes no direct reference to Abu Akleh’s killing, let alone to Israel’s decision not to investigate.

The Secretary reiterated the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.  

That readout is insulting for a veiled reference to Abu Akleh’s killing:

Both parties agreed on the need to address the recent increase in terror attacks in Israel.  Secretary Austin also underscored the importance of de-escalating tensions and protecting civilians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. 

So the Biden administration can only address the killing of an American journalist, almost certainly by Israel, in the most indirect manner, as it’s embracing an Israeli leader.

Gantz loved the meeting: “Just met with my friend @SecDef Lloyd Austin… to deepen the unparalleled defense cooperation between the U.S. & Israel.”

That’s not all. The National Security adviser, Jake Sullivan, also met Gantz yesterday and had nothing to say about Abu Akleh in his celebratory tweet about the meeting last night:

I had an excellent meeting with Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz at the White House today. We discussed ironclad support for Israel’s security, ways to address Iranian aggression, efforts to lower tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and support for Ukraine.

Sullivan also congratulated Israel in a White House briefing yesterday, saying that President Biden is “excited” about visiting Israel next month– “to reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

As Ayman Mohyeldin of MSNBC tweeted today on news that Israel won’t investigate the killing:

We are about to see just how seriously the American government takes the killing of one of its own citizens. This is utterly shameful. Completely expected.

Well you got your answer…

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-2006