On the issue of the recently killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Democrats once again find themselves parroting Palestinian propaganda. In fact, several progressive Democrat members of the House, including Reps. Jamaal Bowman (NY), Cori Bush (MO), Betty McCollum (MN), Marie Newman (IL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ilhan Omar (MN), and Rashida Tlaib (MI) have used the Akleh matter to introduce a resolution calling Israel’s rebirth in 1949 a “catastrophe,” or as the Palestinian nationalists say, a “nakba.” But the truth of what happened at both the journalist’s death, and her subsequent funeral procession is much more complicated.
Ms. Akleh was killed when covering a Palestinian-initiated firefight between Palestinian terrorists and the IDF in Jenin on May 11. The Palestinian Authority (PA) accuses Israel of deliberately targeting the journalist, while an independent Dutch-based group Bellingcat claims the evidence points to the bullet coming from Israel. Israel is open to the possibilitythat one of its soldiers could have shot the journalist in the line of fire, but the PA continues to refuse to cooperate in a joint investigation with Israel, nor produce the bullet that killed the journalist. Regarding her death, the Palestinian chief pathologist could not state definitively which side he believed killed the journalist.
But Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI) has made up her mind, and accuses Israel of murdering Akleh. Other Democrats, like Reps. Bush (MO), Andre Carson (IN), Newman (IL), Ocasio-Cortez (NY), and Omar (MN) were quick to blame Israel, and 57 House Democrats have requested an FBI investigation into Akleh’s death. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a recent call to d PA president Mahmoud Abbas “underscored the importance of concluding the investigations” into the death of the journalist, and earlier had called the family of the killed journalist, expressing “deep condolences.” Both these representatives and Blinken are laundering Palestinian propaganda into the American mainstream. Palestinian presscalls Israel’s shooting of the journalist an “assassination,” that Israel has a “shoot-to-kill policy” towards journalists, that the shooting of the journalist amounts to an Israeli execution, and that Israel acted “intentionally and deliberately.”
With regard to the funeral procession, media clips of Israeli police beating what appear to be Akleh’s pallbearers are ubiquitous. So case closed, right? Hardly. An interim report by Israel reportedly suggests that Israel could have avoided using force. But this tells only a fraction of the story. First, Israeli authorities and the Akleh family had coordinated funeral arrangements. But these arrangements quickly evaporated when, against the family’s wishes, over 300 Palestinian rioters stole the coffin from the hospital. These mobsters absconded with the coffin on foot towards the cemetery, rather than the coffin being loaded into a hearse as the family wanted. And at the procession, Palestinians were throwing rocks from near the coffin at Israeli police. So Palestinian terrorists were using the coffin as a form of a human shield. And those attending the funeral were chanting “How sweet it is to kill Jews,” and other inciting rhetoric.
Where were Tlaib and Omar’s condemnations for this? It is the Israeli police, not Palestinian rioters, who are engaging in “violent racism,” according to Tlaib. Omar piled on as well, posting a video of the Israeli police beating the so called pallbearers as “just cruel.” The State Department released a press statement stating it was “deeply troubled to see the images of Israeli police intruding into her funeral procession today. Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”
The Democrats are enabling Palestinian propaganda, quickly accepting that Israel is responsible for the journalist’s death and that it acted unjustly at her funeral procession. But it is even worse is that Democrats like Reps. Cortez (NY), Omar (MN), Mark Pocan (WI), and Tlaib (MI) are using the Akleh case to call for an examination of the Israeli-US strategic partnership. Pre-judging and politicizing Israel’s actions are yet another example of the Democratic Party’s growing drift away from support of Israel.
You may like
Arab States Unlikely to Join Broad Military Defense with Israel Against Iran
In an effort to re-charge the Abraham Accords launched by the Trump administration, Sens. Jodi Ernst (R-IA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the DEFEND Act, which calls for US leadership in supporting Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait) to form a joint air and missile defense against Iran. The Biden administration will also visit Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority from July 13-16. His visit to Saudi Arabia will include a “GCC+3” summit that would reportedly include the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and the members of the GCC.
But this grand summit faces some serious challenges. While the UAE and Bahrain are already coordinating with Israel on defense, the other GCC countries plus Iraq are quite far from such a possibility. And Saudi Arabian normalization with Israel is the Biden administration’s diplomatic breakthrough to lose.
Iraq seems far from any reconciliation with Israel. Iraq recently made it illegal for Iraqi citizens to have any ties with the Jewish State, a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment. The law is so egregious that even the State Department condemned it.
Kuwait continues to express outright hostility to Israel. Yes, it is refreshing to hear that a Kuwaiti editorial supported normalization with Israel and bashed the Palestinians, calling for the Gulf States to cut off aid to the latter. But Kuwait has shown little signs of changing its actual policy towards Israel. Kuwait recently banned maritime shipping between Israel and Kuwait, as well as the film Death on the Nile because it featured Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
Qatar is a long way away from joining the Abraham Accords, and any defense agreement that would involve Israel. In a welcomed diplomatic step, Qatar will allow Israelis to visit the country using Israeli passports to attend the FIFA World Cup. Israel will also propose an arrangement with Qatar where Israel would have direct flights to the country for the World Cup. While these are welcome developments, Qatar must abandon significant hostility to Israel like its support for jihadist groups and state-sponsored anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism before it can join any broader defense agreement with the Jewish State.
While Oman has clandestine ties with Israel, it has stated numerous times that it will not join the Abraham Accords. While warm to Israel, it also has a strong relationship with Iran which includes military cooperation. So, Oman joining a defense pact against Iran seems absurd.
The most likely country to join Israel, UAE and Bahrain in a defense pact against Iran would be Saudi Arabia, who has to its credit moved incrementally closer to normalization with Israel. US and Israel are reportedly in the midst of helping to broker the transfer of strategic islands in the Red Sea from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. Both US National Security Council Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk and State Department energy envoy Amos Hochstein were recently in Riyadh to help broker this deal. According to Axios, the Biden administration seeks to clinch a deal between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel on these islands before the GCC+3 summit. The deal would also serve a two-fold purpose: 1) to advance normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel; and 2) to improve US-Saudi relations that have long been antagonized by the Biden administration’s anti-Saudi policies. Israel wants security arrangements regarding the islands, as well as access to Saudi airspace to Asia, in addition to direct flights for those seeking pilgrimages from Tel Aviv to Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia currently grants Israel limited access to its airspace for flights to the UAE and Bahrain.
And as the Wall Street Journal has reported, there have been a growing number of secret business and security discussions between the two countries. According to an Israeli newspaper Globes, “dozens” of Israeli businessmen recently traveled to Saudi Arabia using special visas and their Israeli passports. This report further alleges that Israeli businessmen have been travelling to Riyadh and the future location of Neom, a planned hi-tech city, for months. The Globes article further mentions that Israelis and Saudis have already signed “a number of agreements” which each other, “including a multi-million dollar deal in the agriculture tech sector and a second deal for an Israeli water tech solution.”
The greatest hope for a broader Gulf defense agreement with Israel against Iran would be if Saudi Arabia joins the UAE and Bahrain in normalizing ties with Israel, with one or more countries following suit. Israel and Saudi Arabia have made strides towards normalization. But the Biden administration must follow its shuttle diplomacy with reversals of numerous counter-productive anti-Saudi policies. It must climb down the tree it planted when it accused MBS or orchestrating Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, without presenting hard evidence and ignoring Khashoggi’s checkered past. And it must support Saudi Arabia in its war against Iran’s proxies, the Houthi terrorists in Yemen. Only when America reconciles with Saudi Arabia can the region see a broadening of the Abraham Accords.
NOTE: Due to an editorial error an earlier draft of this story was posted, it is now updated.
You may like
Podcast5 days ago
Even California Is Tired of the Left’s Disastrous Policies
Nation2 days ago
Highland Park Parade shooter ‘posted videos appearing to preview deadly attack’
Economy7 days ago
Chevron downsizes global San Fran headquarters, paying for employees to move to Texas office
Immigration6 days ago
BREAKING: Supreme Court rules Biden Administration has authority to reverse Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy