Israeli leaders are furious with US President Joe Biden’s Justice Department.
Despite all the declarations of commitment to Israel, the decision to have the FBI independently investigate the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh demonstrates a lack of trust in the Jewish state.
That was the message conveyed on Tuesday by outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
“Our soldiers will not be investigated by the FBI or by any other foreign country or entity, however friendly it may be,” insisted Lapid. “We have conveyed our strong protest to the United States.”
The interim leader, who will soon hand over the reins to Benjamin Netanyahu, added that the IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world, and routinely and vigorously investigates any wrongdoing among its ranks.
For the Americans to launch their own investigation into Abu Akleh’s death demonstrates the US does not believe that to be true, and does not trust Israel, which already shared all the findings of its own investigation into the unfortunate incident.
The IDF’s internal investigation concluded that it was not possible to decisively determine the source of fire that killed Abu Akleh, but did acknowledge the likelihood that the fatal bullet came from an Israeli soldier returning fire at terrorist gunmen amongst whom the Al Jazeera reporter was embedded.
A serious mistake
Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued a similarly angry response to the American decision prior to Lapid.
“The decision taken by the US Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the tragic passing of Shireen Abu Akleh, is a mistake. The IDF has conducted a professional, independent investigation, which was presented to American officials with whom the details were shared,” stated Gantz.
He likewise stressed that Israel “will not cooperate with an external investigation, and will not enable intervention to internal investigations,” even if it’s coming from America.
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