Shireen Abu Akleh: Washington assures Israel it wasn't behind FBI probe

Shireen Abu Akleh: Washington assures Israel it wasn't behind FBI probe
2 min read
18 November, 2022
The White House and State Department reportedly assured Israel that it was not behind the unprecedented FBI investigation, insisting that it was not politically motivated.
Senior Israeli officials have publicly denounced the FBI investigation into Shireen Abu Akleh's killing [Getty]

The US White House and the State Department have moved to assure Israel’s government that they were not involved in the FBI’s decision to open an investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Axios reported on Thursday.

US and Israeli officials told the news outlet that the decision came following Israel’s recent elections, with the Justice Department informing Tel Aviv just three days after the vote.

Israel pressed US ambassador Tom Nides on the matter, however he said he was unaware of the investigation.

"We spoke to every Biden administration official we work with and made it clear how furious we were," a senior Israeli official told Axios.

The White House and State Department then assured Israel that it was not behind the unprecedented move,  and insisted that it was not politically motivated.

Nonetheless, senior Israeli officials have publicly denounced the investigation, insisting that Israel will not cooperate with it.

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"The decision taken by the US Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the tragic passing of Shireen Abu Akleh, is a mistake," Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz tweeted on Monday. "The IDF has conducted a professional, independent investigation, which was presented to American officials with whom the details were shared."

The tweet followed tense meetings between Gantz and US officials earlier this month, in which the Israeli minister made clear that Israel would not cooperate with the probe, according to the Israeli officials who spoke to Axios.

The officials added that they told Washington to "fix the situation" before it became public, to avoid a bilateral crisis.

Israel initially denied responsibility for Abu Akleh's killing, claiming that Palestinian fighters had shot the veteran journalist. In September, Israel conceded that Abu Akleh had likely been shot by one of its soldiers.

However, six months on from the killing, no individual has been held responsible.

Abu Akleh's family have called for an independent investigation into the killing at the International Court of Justice.

Israel says it has conducted its own investigation, however no action has been taken against any Israeli soldier.

Israeli military investigations have long drawn criticism from rights groups and Palestinians who charge that they are not independent or effective, citing a low indictment rate.