Israel publicized its final investigative findings on the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate death of Al Jazeera “journalist” Shireen Abu Akleh. Before addressing her death however, I would be remiss if I failed to include the caveat that Al Jazeera is not a legitimate news outlet. It is a propaganda outlet funded by the Qatari government and serving its interests. It often spews antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. Its staff members celebrated the birthday of Samir Kuntar, who murdered a three-year-old Jewish girl by bashing her skull with a rifle buttstock. It is only in that context that one can fully appreciate the ideological bent of Al Jazeera and its staff and why its reporters are suspect.
The Israel Defense Force investigation concluded that there was a higher probability that Abu Akleh was killed by IDF fire than by fire from Jenin militants. However, a definitive conclusion as to who was ultimately responsible is impossible given the mangled state of the bullet that struck Abu Akleh and the persistent Palestinian refusal to cooperate with the Israeli investigation.
The findings also make clear that even if the bullet came from an IDF rifle, Abu Akleh’s death was unintentional. The IDF was operating in a complex urban environment and came under fire from various terrorist gangs who often shield themselves behind the cover of civilian infrastructure., which is a war crime.
Israel’s detractors, whose criticism often veers into overt Jew hatred, pounced on the report’s findings, claiming that Israel obfuscated and still refuses to accept responsibility. But these base criticisms overlook several central facts that are crucial to the understanding of the underlying matter.
First, the report is consistent with Israel’s persistent claims that the only way to definitively determine who killed Abu Akleh is by ballistic testing to match the bullet against every weapon carried by the soldiers who were on operational activity in that area on that specific day. However, this is impossible to determine because as noted, the bullet was too mangled for proper ballistic testing.
Second, even if the fatal bullet came from an IDF rifle, the findings make clear that it was unintentional. Abu Akleh was working in a heated war zone where Jenin’s undisciplined militants were firing blindly and wildly from different directions. As the IDF report notes, it was a complex urban environment and Abu Akleh’s death, while tragic, can in no way be blamed on the actions of the IDF.
Third, the investigative report demonstrates once again that Israel is a shining beacon of democracy in a sea of medieval backwardness, perfectly capable of conducting a fair and impartial inquiry into its own actions, even if those actions demonstrate a level of fallibility and culpability. In contrast, Israel’s enemies are incapable of uttering a scintilla of truth. Their truth is one laced with a mixture of banal propaganda, antisemitism and Islamic fundamentalism.
Fourth, the IDF was operating in Jenin on the day that Abu Akleh was killed in response to a series of deadly Arab terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 17 Israeli citizens (Jews and Arabs) and two Ukrainian citizens. The planning for most of those attacks were hatched in Jenin and carried out by terrorists from Jenin. During the Oslo War (also referred to as the Second Intifada) Jenin was dryly dubbed the suicide capital of the West Bank. The lack of Palestinian Authority control over militant gangs has resulted in the mass proliferation of automatic weapons and ammunition. Often times, the gangs are joined by PA “policemen,” or otherwise act with the PA’s knowledge and consent due to fear, apathy or concurrence.
Faced with this indifference or collaboration, the IDF acted vigorously to counter the terror threat. According to the IDF’s military chief Aviv Kohavi, IDF operations since May have netted 1,500 terror suspects and thwarted hundreds of terror attacks. But Israel’s detractors say that the Jewish State has no right to defend itself and protect its citizens – both Arabs and Jews – from Palestinian terror attacks.
Finally, the level hypocrisy coming from Israel’s haters is breathtaking, even by their already low standards. On September 4, an Israeli Arab journalist, named Nadal Ijbaria, was gunned down in the Israeli Arab city of Umn al-Fahm. Ijbaria had been aggressively covering violent crime among Israeli Arabs and this did not sit well with some Arab criminal elements. His life was threatened and last year, gunfire was directed toward his house. He was a journalist doing his job and purposefully murdered by Arabs who didn’t like what he was doing. Yet all we hear is crickets from the vast majority of the anti-Israel contingent and their amen corner. This is because one journalist was killed by a fellow Arab while the other may have been killed by an Israeli soldier. As Professor David E. Bernstein aptly notes, Ijbaria’s murder “won’t get even 1/1000 the worldwide attention of Shireen Abu Akleh being killed while in a crossfire in the West Bank.”
These points are not meant to diminish in any way the tragedy of Abu Akleh’s death. Rather, they are meant to highlight the disingenuousness, hypocrisy and malevolence of Israel’s enemies, whose level of moral depravity knows no bounds.
Photo: Al Jazeera
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