Shireen Abu Akleh: U.S. is not an ‘objective observer’, advocates say | Press freedom

Washington DC – US needs to ‘look in the mirror’ and reassess its unconditional support for Israel, Palestinian rights advocates say, as calls for billions of dollars a year in US aid grow in the wake of Al Jazeera reporter incident Shireen Abu Akleh kill.

The U.S. State Department has urged an “immediate and thorough” investigation into the killing of U.S. citizen Abu Akleh. Killed by Israeli Army This week in the occupied West Bank.

But U.S.-based activists say such statements ignore Washington’s “complicity” in Israeli human rights abuses.

“It’s deeply, deeply hypocritical and ironic that American officials call for an investigation when all they really need to do is look in the mirror,” said Elias Elias, communications director for IfNotNow, a youth-led anti-Occupy Jewish-American group Newman said.

“When it comes to supporting hawkish politicians who support the Israeli government unconditionally, they need to look in the mirror, in fact, our unconditional funding is to enable the Israeli government to get away with it and commit these human rights violations. “

President Joe Biden and his top aides have repeatedly pledged not to limit, limit or reduce U.S. aid to Israel. Total $3.8 billion per year.

Jinan Dina, the national organizer of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Commission (ADC), noted that Abu Akl became the second American citizen to be killed by Israeli forces this year, after the 78-year-old. Omar Assad Died in January after being detained in the West Bank.

Dina said Palestinian-Americans like her did not feel protected by their own government when they traveled to Palestine to visit family.

“We’re Americans, we’re paying taxes, and the money is actually going to abuse not only our families back home and Palestinians back home, but us now,” Dina told Al Jazeera. “Many of us are very afraid to go [to Palestine] This year. “

US envoy ‘deeply saddened’

Israeli troops raided on Friday Abu Akleh’s funeral procession In Jerusalem, violence attacked mourners and coffins, nearly dropping the coffins of slain journalists.

Footage of the attack sparked a worldwide outcry, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken saying he was “deeply disturbed” by the images. “Every family deserves to rest their loved ones in a dignified and unimpeded way,” he tweeted.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. special envoy to the United Nations, also said she was “deeply saddened.”

But Thomas Greenfield has made it clear — even before the U.S. Senate confirmed her to the post last year — that protecting Israel from criticism from the United Nations will be one of her top priorities.

Israel has been America’s No. 1 ally in the Middle East for decades, and presidents and lawmakers from both parties have demonstrated their strong commitment to the country.In addition to the $3.8 billion in U.S. aid that Israel receives annually, this year Washington adds another $1 billion “Supplement” its Iron Dome missile defense system after the Gaza conflict in May 2021.

Against this backdrop, Maya Berry, executive director of the Washington-based think tank Arab American Institute (AAI), said it was clear that Washington was not an impartial player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We’re not an objective observer here,” Berry told Al Jazeera earlier this week, referring to the US government. “We fully support the State of Israel in committing these abuses.”

In recent years, progressive activists and U.S. lawmakers have tried to limit aid to Israel or make it conditional on ending aggression against Palestinians, but the push has remained largely confined to the Democratic left.

As a 2020 candidate, Biden dismisses the idea of ​​regulating Israel’s aid Senator Bernie Sanders In that year’s Democratic primary, it was called “The Bizarre.”

After being elected to the presidency, his top aides, including Vice President Kamala Harris, have pledged that the aid would not be restricted under any circumstances. This position has not changed, even as major rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Internationalaccusing Israel of segregation of Palestinians.

“The US government is complicit and perpetrators of Israel’s war crimes because of the aid, unconditional support, blank checks they gave them,” Dina told Al Jazeera.

“The United States is 100 percent hand in hand with Israel in terms of these abuses that are taking place.”

A Palestinian man rides a bicycle in front of a mural in Gaza City honoring Abu Akleh [Mohammed Abed/AFP]

legislative efforts

Last year, Democratic congresswomen Introducing Betty McCollum The legislation would ensure that U.S. aid is not used to fund Israeli human rights abuses.

The proposal has 32 co-sponsors, but it has not yet passed the legislative process beyond its formal presentation.

McCollum told Al Jazeera: “The killing of any journalist is a tragedy, but the killing of Shireen Abu Akler, a Palestinian-American journalist covering the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land, is a crime that requires accountability and consequences. rather than impunity,” in an email on Friday.

“I call for restrictions on U.S. aid to Israel to ensure that our taxes do not fund flagrant human rights abuses – a limitation that should certainly apply if Israeli security forces are found responsible for Shireen’s death. “

Palestinian-American political analyst Omar Badal noted that the poll (PDF format) shows that placing conditions on U.S. aid to Israel is popular among Americans, especially Democrats.

“However, our political class remains dominated by outdated attitudes that never question support for Israel, in a political environment where the Israeli lobby continues to influence policy in ways that Americans simply do not support,” he told Al Jazeera.

Still, Badal says there are progressives call for accountability It’s a “powerful development” for Israel to violate human rights and ensure that U.S. taxpayer money isn’t used to commit them.

“But we have to continue to build on that and increase public pressure until it can translate into a shift in actual policy,” he said.

For her part, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib slammed U.S. aid to Israel after the attack on Israel. Abu Ackley Funeral on Friday.

“This is disgusting. Violent racism, facilitated by unconditional US military funding of $3.8B,” she wrote on Twitter, in response to footage of Israeli officers beating a coffin carrying Abu Akleh’s coffin with batons.

“Apartheid in Israel [government]Shireen’s life doesn’t matter – her dehumanization continues after her death. “

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