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


To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy