“Imagine the unimaginable: Ilana Dayan (or Yonit Levi) goes out of her comfort zone in order to report on the occupation. She is caught in an exchange of fire and a bullet hits her in the neck, in the area between her helmet and her ballistic vest. She dies. What happens then? Israel very quickly captures the Palestinian “cell.” It doesn’t matter who fired, it’s entirely insignificant, all of its members are killed or sentenced to life in prison. Israel mourns the loss of its veteran journalist.
No one even considers forensic tests: There’s no need for them. It’s clear to everyone who killed the journalist. The United States doesn’t think to interfere with the investigation, only to censure the Palestinians and participate in the grief of the Jewish nation, and perhaps also to impose sanctions on the Palestinian Authority over the journalist’s murder. It is obvious to all that the Israeli journalist was killed because she was Jewish and because she was a journalist. Her murderers – that’s what they’ll be called, of course – intended to murder her. Every Israeli child will understand this.
But Shireen Abu Akleh was a Palestinian war correspondent, infinitely more courageous and determined than Dayan and Levi put together, and she was killed in Jenin. Israel washed its hands of any responsibility, as usual. Washed its hands and obfuscated. All of the investigations that have been published so far into the circumstances of her killing led to a single conclusion: The Israel Defense Forces shot her. But Israel continued to obfuscate.
And then came the forensic analysis, carried out in the presence of a U.S. military officer. And this is the result: The U.S. Department of State, which is concerned about the safety of civilians and is particularly shocked by harm caused to journalists, as proved in the Jamal Khashoggi case, announced that while it is impossible to determine with certainty who killed Abu Akleh, the gunfire likely came from IDF positions. And the punch line: “The [U.S. Security Coordinator] found no reason to believe that [the gunfire] was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances.” The damaged bullet that was removed from Abu Akleh’s head whispered to the United States that the shooter didn’t mean to kill her. It was the most elaborate ballistic test in history: a test that examines innermost thoughts, that discerns intentions.
It’s difficult to imagine a more clumsy, unprofessional, ridiculous and even insulting mobilization in the service of Israeli propaganda. Once again it has been proven that America is willing to do anything, absolutely anything, to protect its precious darling; to conceal all its crimes, to make itself an object of ridicule, to disregard moral, legal and professional standards – all to cover up for Israel. America is telling Israel: Keep on killing journalists, as far as we’re concerned it’s fine. We will always say you didn’t mean to, that tragic circumstances killed Abu Akleh and not soldiers in the Duvdevan counterterrorism unit.
Americans also don’t watch CNN. The network’s investigation disclosed that three or four additional bullet holes can be seen on the tree Abu Akleh was standing against when she was hit – bullets that were fired individually, not in a burst. Does this also indicate that there was no intention to kill the journalist, who took cover under the tree?
Could it be that it’s possible to mute, obscure and deceive so much for the sole purpose of making President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Israel more pleasant? Does the U.S. consider covering up for a crime an expression of friendship toward its perpetrator?
“Who killed Norma Jean?” Pete Seeger asked in the wonderful song he composed of Norman Rosten’s poem. “Who saw her die / I, said the Night, and a bedroom light, we saw her die. ... Who’ll bear the pall? / We, said the Press, in pain and distress, / We’ll bear the pall. / Who’ll soon forget? / I, said the Page, beginning to fade, / I’ll be the first to forget.”
Abu Akleh is dead, and with her the last remnants of trusting the United States to tell the truth about its ally. Thanks to it, Israel can continue to claim that we’ll never know who killed Shireen. But it seems that we know very well who killed her. He walks among us now.
America is telling Israel: Keep on killing journalists, as far as we’re concerned it’s fine. We will always say you didn’t mean to.”