The FBI’s Gratuitous and Futile Investigation into Shireen Abu Akleh’s Death

Over six months ago, the Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was hit by a bullet and killed while covering a shoot-out between the IDF and a group of Palestinian guerrillas. On the grounds that Abu Akleh was an American as well as a Palestinian citizen, the State Department insisted on conducting its own investigation. It concluded that Abu Akleh was “likely” killed by a stray bullet from an Israeli soldier’s gun, although it admittedly could not say so with certainty. The IDF’s own investigation reached a similar conclusion. Yet this is not enough for the U.S. Department of Justice, which recently announced that it will look in the matter itself. Lahav Harkov comments:

Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi’s “Most Wanted Terrorist” poster, which can be viewed on the FBI website, describes her as “charged with participating in an August 9, 2001 suicide-bomb attack at a pizza restaurant in Jerusalem that killed fifteen people, including two United States nationals. Four other United States nationals were among approximately 122 others injured in the attack,” the site reads. “Should be considered armed and dangerous.”

The FBI poster asks for tips and offers a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Tamimi’s arrest. Here’s a tip: she’s in Jordan, hosting a talk show on Hamas TV, . . . but Jordan refuses to extradite her.

It’s not clear what the FBI will accomplish in its investigation, considering that the agency does not appear to have access to new evidence, nor will it be able to question Israeli soldiers. . . . Yet it’s insisting on going forward with its own probe.

In other words, this apparently accidental, but still tragic, death of a U.S. citizen seems to warrant special attention that an intentional terrorist bombing with several American victims does not.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: IDF, Palestinian terror, U.S.-Israel relationship

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority