There are two kinds of Americans: those to whom America rushes for help and others whom America turns its back on and turns a blind eye to their tragedy. By America, I mean the US administration and mainstream media, which shapes public perception.
Let us take the case of 78-year-old Omar Asad, a US citizen who: “Spent most of his life in the American Midwest and raised five children in the United States before moving back to the occupied West Bank about a decade ago.” Asad was killed in a late-night operation in the village of Jiljilya on the outskirts of Ramallah on 12 January, 2022, at the hands of troops part of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion of religious Jews. Asad was returning from his cousins’ house after playing cards, chatting and laughing late at night when he was stopped by Israeli occupation forces patrolling his village. He was “dragged from his car, blindfolded, gagged and handcuffed” and left at a nearby construction site to die. Israeli soldiers never sought medical aid for the man, even though a military medic was at hand.
As usual, the US had complete confidence in investigating the Israeli occupation forces, which have been illegally occupying the West Bank for the last 55 years. Israel eventually admitted that it was responsible for the murder of Asad, but what was the result? As a result of the probe, the battalion commander will be reprimanded, while the platoon and company commanders will be stripped of their commands, but not their ranks, and: “Will not serve in commanding roles for two years.”
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In the case of a second US citizen, Al Jazeera news reporter Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed by the bullet of an Israeli military sniper sitting in an Israeli army jeep 190 metres away, Abu Akleh was shot and killed, even though she and her team had already informed the occupation army stationed near Jenin refugee camp about their mission and identity, and had the word “PRESS” blazoned across her vest and helmet. Reports say she was shot in a spot not covered by the helmet or body armour, under her ear. This would require the skills of an experienced sniper with a team to guide him, not an officer acting on his own or misidentifying a target. This is clearly a “targeted killing” case in Israeli terms, which means a pre-planned, extrajudicial killing of an identified person authorised by the Israeli leadership.
As contradicting news came from Israel on the intention of the Israeli occupation army to start a criminal investigation, this brings to one’s mind the assassination of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered by an intelligence assassination team in his country’s consulate in Istanbul. This crime disturbed Saudi Arabia’s relations with many countries, especially the US, although Jamal was not a US citizen and merely wrote for The Washington Post.
Indeed, countries like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have always been allies to the US, but it is unthinkable to compare them to Israel. The relationship between Israel and the US is hard to explain regarding interests. Israeli politicians act as if they are indispensable and immune to criticism, let alone legal persecution, even if the victim is a US citizen. This explains the cold initial US reaction to Abu Akleh’s murder. which came from the US Embassy illegally located in Jerusalem.
Many argue that why should the US stand for Abu Akleh while it is the same US that bombed Al Jazeera offices in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, killing Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub? But this time, the case is different. Theoretically, this time the US is the victim, not the victimiser. But when it comes to Israel, the US is paying the usual lip service, leaving the investigation of the murder of one of its citizens to the Israeli army, who is the main suspect in her killing.
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This time, the US has an extra reason to be more lenient with Israel than usual. Israel would have never even considered committing this crime without its protection against legal and political consequences. What if the supposed US or international investigation reveals that the Israeli government or prime minister commissioned the killing? Would that mean the fall of the already fractured government, and who would be the next option? Would it be Netanyahu, and for what reason?
Most likely, Israel will eventually escape the murder of Abu Akleh as it has always done, and those who commissioned this heinous crime will continue to play the role of the victim due to US hypocrisy. Yet, having the courage to stand up against the illegal Israeli occupation and continue exposing its lies and reporting from the ground, regardless of all the intimidation it practises against journalists and those who are committed to truth, is the best homage to Abu Akleh and all those who fall on account of the bullets of the Israeli occupation, slowing down Israeli crimes and saving the souls of many Palestinian civilians.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.