Mondoweiss / June 22, 2022
Israel has shown contempt for the idea of accountability in the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. Yet the U.S. State Department goes along with this farce.
This past weekend the New York Times joined a list of news organizations (including the Washington Post, AP, and CNN) that have investigated the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and concluded that an Israeli soldier shot her.
Just what eyewitnesses told us on May 11 in Jenin day. Just what Israel has denied/tried to sweep under the rug since the prominent broadcaster for Al Jazeera was killed wearing a press flak jacket.
The good news from the State Department briefing yesterday is that Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing is not being forgotten by journalists. No: Humeyra Pamuk of Reuters and Said Arikat of Al Quds are standing up for Shireen in death, demanding accountability.
The bad news is that the State Department continues to evade any responsibility in the matter, saying it trusts its good friend Israel– a “fellow democracy” — to exhibit accountability. Here is Ned Price of State Department:
Israel does have the wherewithal to conduct an investigation that is transparent, that is impartial, and that – importantly – culminates in accountability. That’s what we would like to see happen.
A U.S. investigation of the American journalist’s killing is “not on the table,” Price said, backing away from Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s quasi-approval of an independent investigation. Though Abu Akleh’s family has called for a U.S. investigation, and so have many journalists.
Said Arikat of Al Quds mocked the idea that Israel can investigate transparently and thoroughly.
Arikat: I can assure you there are not very many examples that show Israel can commit to a transparent and thorough investigation. I want to go back —
Price: We’ve spoken of previous examples. We have spoken of the example of Eyad al-Hallaq, for example, one such example.
Eyad al-Hallaq was an autistic man who was shot in Jerusalem by border police in 2020; even Israel admitted that it should not have killed that Palestinian. A police officer was charged with reckless homicide in the killing.
But Abu Akleh’s killing is more political in Israel: It involves “terrorism” in the occupied territories, and the Israeli army’s operations to counter it. An Israeli leader would have to spend a lot of political capital in the right wing to admit the truth, and no one wants to do so, because those politicians are hunting for rightwing votes, that’s where all the Jewish action is. And Israel will surely try to use the chaos over its next election to shield soldiers from any accountability.
But to repeat the bottom line: Israel knows exactly who killed Shireen Abu Akleh and “why.” Even as news organizations around the world seek to answer those questions by speaking to Palestinian witnesses and studying their videos, Israel withholds all its information from the public– and it has surely pitched the rifle into the Mediterranean.
Israel has shown utter contempt for the idea of accountability.
And the sad fact is that the Biden administration must go along with this Orwellian charade because it can’t spend any political capital in its American Jewish Zionist support/contributions, which are so crucial for the midterms and the 2024 election.
Yesterday Ned Price also evaded questions about Biden’s promise to restore the Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem. Such a decision is complex and takes a long time, he said, and cited the fact that the Palestinian office inside the Jerusalem embassy was recently upgraded, a warm bucket of spit that liberal Zionists have also celebrated. When the Biden administration could reopen the consulate in an instant if it wanted. It just doesn’t want to upset the Israelis. It’s the same superpower/client role-reversal we see with the Iran deal. The U.S. is something that can be easily moved, just as Netanyahu said.
Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-2006
Thanks to Dave Reed.