America’s Absurd Response to Israel’s Investigation into a Journalist’s Death

On May 11, Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist working for Al Jazeera, was killed by an errant bullet during a shoot-out between Palestinian terrorists and the IDF. Last week—after much sensational media coverage and disproportionate pressure from the U.S.—the Israeli government announced that a thorough investigation had concluded that the bullet was likely fired by an IDF soldier. The Biden administration then demanded that Jerusalem review its military rules of engagement so that such incidents are not repeated—a demand Prime Minister Lapid rejected out of hand. The Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini comments:

A few years ago, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said that when he wants to learn how to protect innocent lives, he learns from Israel, who does it best. . . . Dempsey’s statement is backed by all respectable research that has examined the data on uninvolved civilians who were wounded or killed during armed conflicts. . . . Even Israel’s harshest critics would have to admit that fewer innocent lives are lost during operations conducted by the IDF than in those carried out by the U.S. military.

The same goes for the Abu Akleh case. Israel conducted an extensive investigation, and even if our bullet did kill the Al Jazeera reporter, it was done in error, not with intention. The investigation was conducted and published because the IDF is scrutinized more than any other army in the world.

Israel exhibits the highest of standards during its operations, yet is still criticized by the U.S. for harming innocent lives. . . . Even if a small-scale crisis [in U.S.-Israel relations] were to emerge, the prime minister was correct in telling our dearest friend: “You’ve crossed the line.”

Read more at Ynet

More about: Al Jazeera, IDF, Military ethics, US-Israel relations

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship