After four months of gaslighting, the Israeli army finally admitted, following an internal probe, that one of its own soldiers “most likely” killed renowned Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin in May. While claiming it wasn’t certain who the shooter was, the army was somehow confident enough to assert that a soldier had probably “mistakenly fired the shots while he himself was being fired at,” and that there was no need to launch a criminal investigation into the matter. Intent, in the army’s eyes, is impossible to suspect when a bullet finds its way past a helmet and press vest and into a journalist’s skull.
The conclusion of Israeli culpability is hardly news. What makes the announcement infuriating, however, is the way in which the Israeli army has casually confessed to the crime, knowing full well that the shooter will never be punished for the killing, nor will his superiors in government or the military pay a price for peddling falsehoods for months.
Much of the Israeli media, meanwhile, has simply parroted the army’s claims with little interest in interrogating the authorities further — as journalists ought to be doing — reflecting instead on how to avoid such “mishaps” and embarrassments. The impunity is so baked into the national psyche that it is taken almost as an article of faith, if not an implicit right, which nearly every Jewish-Israeli individual and institution can feel entitled to.