Why is the FBI Investigating Israel? // The Abu Akleh case and its political consequences

Last May, Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old American reporter for Al Jazeera, was shot while she was covering clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen in the city of Jenin, after the IDF raided the city in a crackdown on terrorists.

The killing of an international reporter who also was an American citizen—she was born in Jerusalem but moved to the US—generated a great deal of criticism of Israel. Initially, Israel suggested that Abu Akleh might have been killed by a Palestinian bullet, but a subsequent investigation by the military found that it was an Israeli bullet.

Israel’s investigation concluded that Abu Akleh’s killing was accidental, and that appeared to satisfy the White House, which had previously released similar conclusions. But last week, Israeli officials revealed that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into the case. The news led to angry denunciations by the Israeli government, as well as confusing responses from the Americans.

Some observers have said that this will lead to a frosty relationship between Israel and the US. At the moment, however, it seems just as likely that it will lead nowhere, except perhaps to a greater understanding of how Palestinian pressure is having an effect on American politicians and government officials.


To read more, subscribe to Ami