Akleh’s murder

Ramzy Baroud
Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

The recent decision by the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into the killing, last May, of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is not a game-changer, but important and worthy of reflection, nonetheless.

Based on the long trajectory of US military and political support of Israel, and Washington’s constant shielding of Tel Aviv from any accountability for its illegal occupation of Palestine, one can confidently conclude that there will not be any actual investigation.

A real investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh could open up a Pandora’s box of other findings pertaining to Israel’s many other illegal practices and violations of international – and even US – law. For example, the US investigators would have to look into the Israeli use of US-supplied weapons and munitions, which are used daily to suppress Palestinian protests, confiscate Palestinian land, impose military sieges on civilian areas and so on.

The US Leahy Law specifically prohibits “the US Government from using funds for assistance to units of foreign security forces where there is credible information implicating that unit in the commission of gross violations of human rights.”

Moreover, an investigation would also mean accountability, if it concludes that

Abu Akleh, a US citizen, was deliberately killed by an Israeli soldier, as several human rights groups have already concluded.

That, too, is implausible. In fact, one of the main pillars that define US-Israeli relationship is that the former serves the role of the protector of the latter at the international stage. Every Palestinian, Arab or international attempt at investigating Israeli crimes has decisively failed simply because Washington systematically blocked every potential investigation under the pretense that Israel is capable of investigating itself, alleging at times that any attempt to hold Israel accountable is a witch hunt that is tantamount to antisemitism.

According to Axios, this was the gist of the official Israeli response to the US decision to open an investigation into the murder of the Palestinian journalist. “Our soldiers will not be investigated by the FBI or by any other foreign country or entity,” outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, adding: “We will not abandon our soldiers to foreign investigations.”

Though Lapid’s is the typical Israeli response, it is

quite interesting – if not shocking – to see it used in a context involving an American investigation. Historically, such language was reserved for investigations by the United Nations Human Rights Council, and by international law judges, the likes of Richard Falk, Richard Goldstone and Michael Lynk. Time and again, such investigations were conducted or blocked without any Israeli cooperation and under intense American pressure.

In 2003, the scope of Israeli intransigence and US blind support of Israel reached the point of pressuring the

Belgian government to rewrite its own domestic laws to dismiss a war crimes case against late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.

Excerpted from: ‘Symbolic But Significant: Why the Decision to Investigate Abu Akleh’s Murder is Unprecedented’. Courtesy: