Washington repeats calls for ‘accountability’ despite Israel’s denial of investigations into journalist’s murder.
The United States has resisted Al Jazeera’s pressure to present its case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank earlier this year.
Hours after the network submitted a request to the Hague tribunal on Tuesday to investigate and prosecute the killers of a Palestinian-American journalist, the US State Department said it would reject the move.
“We are opposed to this,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
Washington has been opposed to Palestinian-led efforts to target Israeli aggression by international organizations, including the United Nations and the ICC.
“We continue our longstanding opposition to the ICC’s investigation into the Palestinian issue,” Price said on Tuesday when asked about Al Jazeera’s request to the court.
“The ICC must focus on its core mission. And that core mission is to serve as the court of last resort to punish and prevent atrocities.”
Abu Akleh was fatally shot by Israeli forces during fighting in the West Bank city of Jenin on May 11. His killing sparked international condemnation and calls for justice.
Israel, which rights groups accuse of implementing a system of discrimination against Palestinians, receives $3.8bn in US security aid each year.
On Tuesday, Price repeated the call for the US to “answer” the case.
“We’ve said over and over that this needs to be investigated, and ultimately it needs to end in accountability,” he said. “We continue to discuss with our Israeli partners the need to respond.”
But when he was forced to oppose the intervention of the ICC – since the Israeli authorities objected to investigate the murder of a US citizen – Price said that “responsibility in this case” is related to the “strategy” that the Israeli army is doing to protect the security of the people. do not fight.
Al Jazeera has submitted the results of a six-month investigation to the ICC, claiming that journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was deliberately killed by Israeli forces ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/Xx4cWZSm9W
– Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) December 6, 2022
In September, after the Israeli army admitted that one of its soldiers had killed Abu Akleh, Washington scaled back its calls for accountability, and urged Israel to review its military rules to reduce civilian casualties – a move Israel rejected. leaders.
Although Price insists that the US position has been consistent, he offered another definition of accountability in May. “Those who killed Shireen must be fully prosecuted,” Abu Akleh told reporters after the killing.
Last month, Israeli officials announced that the FBI had opened an investigation into the murder, vowing not to cooperate with the US investigation.
But the US Justice Department has not confirmed the Israeli accounts, and the State Department has distanced itself from any possible investigation, saying the move would be outside its mandate.
In the past, Biden’s administration has rejected calls for an independent investigation, insisting that Israel can investigate the claims made by its soldiers. Many US lawmakers, including some supporters of Israel, have called on Washington to open its own investigation into the matter.
Palestinian rights activists stress that Israel cannot be left to investigate its atrocities, pointing to a long history of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.