Israel should not be allowed to whitewash the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akler with another fake “investigation”.
the only possible response Hasty quotation Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s call for Palestinians to conduct a “joint pathological investigation” into the killing of prominent Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh may spark outrage.
This “investigation” conducted by Israel is not to uncover the truth, but to bury it, not to hold it accountable, but to maintain impunity, not to prosecute the perpetrators, but to protect them.
Foreign Minister Lapid’s direct call for a “joint investigation” into the killing of Abu Akler – which was later reiterated by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett – showed the extent of Israel’s concern about the public relations crisis it is currently facing. Proposals for this “investigation” and “analysis” are usually left to lower-level officials in Israel’s whitewashing agency.
In fact, Israel only engages in such high-level whitewashing if it believes that killing a Palestinian would damage the country’s image. Otherwise, it wouldn’t even bother with such an empty gesture.
For decades, B’Tselem has made sincere attempts to engage with Israel’s domestic investigative mechanisms. Over the years, we have made hundreds of applications to the relevant authorities for investigations into the cases of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces, but meaningful accountability has never been achieved.Six years ago, we came to the conclusion that we were dealing with not just a dysfunctional investigative mechanism, but an organized, systematic whitewash operation. Therefore, we decided to continue our work on such killings – but never participated in what Israel called an “investigation.”
Israel’s investigative mechanism is clearly a hoax. Even an investigation into a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces would rarely end in charges. The whole mechanism is a disguise, because its flaws are actually its essential features—those that allow it to get away with impunity. First, the task of the military is to investigate itself. Soldiers are often interviewed without question, with little effort to gather outside evidence, and the “investigation” goes on for years. On top of that, even the scams described above target only low-level soldiers—those who have policies that enable soldiers to pull the trigger on Palestinians will never come under any scrutiny. All of this, although in many cases the cause of death is not any deviation from Israeli military policy, but criminal policy itself.
Take, for example, the case of Israeli snipers shooting unarmed Palestinians at the Gaza fence during the Great Return demonstration. Israel carried out “investigation“Into some specific sniper shooting cases. But no one investigates — and no one in Israel does — the ROE itself.
The Israel Military Advocate General — the same person in charge of Israel’s military investigations — is tasked with giving the green light to such policies. So, obviously, no one will be held accountable for issuing these blatantly illegal orders to the snipers.
Israel needs impunity to maintain its apartheid. It cannot maintain control of the conquered population without state violence. So the regime must provide itself with a package of impunity — while doing what looks like an investigation to appease the expectations of the international community.
Impunity paves the way for more killings. Don’t believe Israeli propaganda, which promises “investigations.” Israel will not hold itself accountable, just as its apartheid regime will not collapse on its own. International stakeholders who don’t make this point simply see themselves as a cog in Israel’s whitewash machine. US pressures Palestinians to accept ”United” investigation and Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Neders Vaguely “encouraging” investigations only demonstrates the extent to which a Biden administration continues to act as such a cog.
Shireen Abu Akleh once said that while “changing reality may not be easy,” she could at least bring “the voice of the people to the world.” To keep this voice alive, honor her legacy and demand justice, please: Say no to Israel’s propaganda, see reality clearly, and prove to Israel that the time for accountability has finally arrived — even if it’s belated.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial position.