News Releases

* Israel’s Nukes * Israel-Saudi Alliance: “Militarism and Authoritarianism”

GRANT F. SMITH, gsmith@irmep.org@IRmepBiden on Israeli TV threatened to use force against Iran, allegedly to prevent it from getting a nuclear weapon, as a “last resort.” But Biden has not re-instated the Iran nuclear deal which Trump withdrew from. Smith is director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy. He has written extenstively on Israel’s nuclear weapons which Biden has refused to acknowledge. Smith’s work was cited in the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s last published piece: “Joe Biden should end the U.S. pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons.”

RULA JEBREAL, jebreal.rula@gmail.com@rulajebreal

Jebreal is visiting professor at the University of Miami, an author and noted foreign policy analyst. She just arrived in New York City from the Mideast. She said today: “There are many layers of the Israel-Saudi alliance — and the U.S. government role in forging it. It’s mainly based around militarism and authoritarianism. It’s a bloody legacy of ‘shared values’ — Israel’s ‘unbreakable bond’ with the U.S. means that Biden will ignore international law and commits to unconditional support to Israel’s occupation. The leader of the free world is enabling militarism by working to forge a NATO-like entity for the authoritarian Gulf states, binding Americans to protect the world’s most corrupt despots and apartheid Israel.”

Background: See from last month in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “Thanks to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s Recognition of Israel Is Now Inevitable.”

The New York Times reported in 2021: “Israel secretly authorized a group of cyber-surveillance firms to work for the government of Saudi Arabia despite international condemnation of the kingdom’s abuse of surveillance software to crush dissent, even after the Saudi killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, government officials and others familiar with the contracts said.”

IPA news release from 2020: “Protesting Trump’s Israeli-Gulf ‘Fake Peace’ Deals.”

See “Saudi Arabia’s Unholy Alliance with Israel” — video and transcript — of The Real News interview from 2018 with scholar As’ad AbuKhalil who gives a history of Israel-Saudi collusion going back at least to the first Yemen war of the 1960s.

See from 2015 by Robert Parry “Did Money Seal Israeli-Saudi Alliance?

In 1955, the U.S. government tried to establish an effective southern flank of NATO called CENTO, also known as the Baghdad Pact. The organization became largely moribund in 1959 following the overthrow of the U.S.-backed monarch in Iraq and collapsed altogether in 1979 when the U.S.-backed Shah was ousted in Iran.

Israel Shields Alleged Killers of U.S. Citizen, U.S. Gov. Goes Along — for Decades

Alex Odeh

Al Jazeera reports: “Biden appears to have rejected a request by Shireen Abu Akleh’s family to meet with him during his visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank this week, as pressure mounts on the United States to ensure accountability for the journalist’s killing by Israeli forces.”

But Abu Akleh is hardly the first U.S. citizen that the Israeli military has killed. The Intercept just published the piece “No Path to Justice: Israeli Forces Keep Killing Americans While U.S. Officials Give Them a Pass” about peace activist Rachel Corrie who was crushed to death by an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer in 2003.

DAVID SHEEN, realdavidsheen@gmail.com@davidsheen

An independent journalist, Sheen just wrote a pair of pieces: “Alex Odeh Assassination: New Testimony Could Finally Bring Jewish Defense League to Justice” and “As U.S. Refuses to Act, Suspected Alex Odeh Assassins Enjoy Influential Role in Israeli Politics” for MintPress.

He writes: “Palestinian-American activist Alex Odeh was brutally murdered in public. Odeh, the regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), was killed when a bomb exploded as he entered the ADC’s Santa Ana, California offices on October 11, 1985.
“It is widely believed that the culprits were Robert Manning, Keith Israel Fuchs, and Baruch Ben Yosef (also known as Andy Green). The trio were members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a Jewish supremacist domestic terrorist group that had repeatedly harassed and threatened Odeh. From 1984 until his death in 2002, the group was led by the notorious militant Irv Rubin. Manning is currently serving life in prison for the murder of another individual. Fuchs and Ben Yosef, however, fled to Israel and live there freely to this day.“Law enforcement officials told me that the FBI has always considered the three men its top suspects. But despite significant evidence of the trio’s guilt, the bureau has never pressed for charges. Many have alleged high government interference. According to active agents still assigned to the case, pressing charges against Manning, Fuchs, and Ben Yosef would require testimony from a witness who heard at least one of those very men discussing their own involvement in Alex Odeh’s murder.“We now have it.”

Sheen reports that he has interviewed a former assocate of Ben Yosef and Fuchs who is willing to testify as to their guilt of the murder of Odeh. But the FBI has yet to question this individual.

Sheen traces the lack of prosecution to decisions taken initially by Rudy Giuliani (who was District Attorney of the Southern District of New York following Odeh’s murder when Fuchs and Ben Yosef were in New York) — and, in the years since, to the State Department.

He also notes that Ben Yosef and Fuchs have groomed two far right successors who entered the Israeli Knesset in March 2021 — Itamar Ben Gvir and Simcha Rothman.

Sheen also states that “since the Jerusalem Post’s February 1994 profile … titled “Apocalypse Now” — no Israeli news outlets have noted that terrorist-turned-attorney Baruch Ben Yosef and two of his Kahanist comrades are suspected of murder in the United States.”

Biden Mideast Trip Doubles Down on Trump Policies, Further Militarizes Region

DAVID YAGHOUBIAN, dny@csusb.eduYaghoubian is professor of history at California State University San Bernardino, co-editor of Struggle and Survival in the Modern Middle East and author of Ethnicity, Identity, and the Development of Nationalism in Iran.

He said today: “Amidst an arguably self-imposed global energy crisis propelled by U.S.-promoted sanctions on some of the world’s largest oil producers — Iran, Venezuela, and Russia — and facing unprecedented low domestic approval ratings, President Joe Biden has controversially tacked a visit to Saudi Arabia on to a scheduled trip to Israel and the West Bank (July 13-16) despite poll data showing that fewer than one quarter of Americans support it. The president’s plan to speak before the GCC+3 conference in Jeddah has been explained in an optimistic Washington Post op-ed as an opportunity to ‘reset’ Saudi-U.S. relations which (publicly) languish after candidate Biden had described the country as a ‘pariah’ in the wake of the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. In conjunction with his first trip to Israel, a country with which U.S. relations had been proclaimed by the mainstream media in February of 2021 to be in ‘reset’ due to President-elect Biden’s refusal to telephone then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden’s op-ed asserts that these meetings will ‘start a new and more promising chapter of America’s engagement’ in the region, promote security, and advance American interests.
“Unfortunately, the president’s revised itinerary and agenda seems geared solely towards returning U.S.-Israeli and U.S.-Saudi relations to the Trump-era status quo. Beyond what will likely be an unsuccessful attempt to pressure or entice Saudi Arabia to increase its oil output to help lower increasing energy prices, Biden will be negotiating Saudi acquisition of precision-guided munitions and anti-ballistic missile systems from the United States and Israel, and promoting closer Arab security cooperation with Israel, including a U.S.-led unified air defense network. Accordingly, Biden’s upcoming trip to the region promises no tangible benefit to the United States outside of potential new weapons sales while serving to legitimize the policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and the current caretaker government of apartheid Israel.”

Background: See recent IPA news release: “Biden’s Saudi Trip: For Cheaper Gas — or for Israel?

See video from the Quincy Institute: “President Biden walks in Trump’s footsteps in Saudi Arabia & Israel this week.”

See from Forbes: “Biden’s Mideast Agenda Could Increase the Risks of War.”

Biden’s Trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia: “Hypocrisy on Display”

File:Palestine solidarity protest (38272721154).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

MAZIN QUMSIYEH, mazin@qumsiyeh.org
Biden’s trip includes a stop in Bethlehem. Qumsiyeh is a professor at Bethlehem University. His books include Sharing the Land of Canaan. He is founding director of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability. He highlights how U.S. policy is “hypocrisy on display” with Biden’s trip: While it professes stability, its militarism and weapons have destabilized the region. While it professes freedom and peace, it has backed Israel in its oppression of Palesitnians, killings and violations of international law.

RAJI SOURANI, pchr@pchrgaza.org, @pchrgaza

Sourani is executive director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, which Israel bombed extensively last year. He is a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award. The group’s recent statements include: “U.S. Investigation into Killing of Journalist Shireen Abu ‘Akleh Attempts to Mislead Justice and Its findings not Binding,” “Israeli Occupation Forces Kill Palestinian Child in Ramallah,” “Medical Neglect Kills Palestinian Woman Detained in Israeli Prisons” and “Cancer Patient Dies After Israeli Authorities Deny His Travel for Treatment Abroad.”

SAREE MAKDISI, makdisi@humnet.ucla.edu, @sareemakdisi
Makdisi’s books include Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation and the just-released Tolerance Is a Wasteland: Palestine and the Culture of Denial. He is professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA. His pieces include “Apartheid” for Critical Inquiry. Last year he wrote the piece “The Nakba Is Now” for The Nation. He notes the disparity between the U.S. media and establishment glorifying Ukrainians fighting against Russians while Palestinians struggling against a U.S.-backed Israeli military occupation for decades have been demonized, or — at best — tolerated.

MOUIN RABBANI, mail@mouinrabbani.net, @mouinrabbani
Rabbani is co-editor of Jadaliyya. He recently appeared on “Democracy Now!” and stated: “It seems to me fairly self-evident that what Antony Blinken and other U.S. officials told the Palestinian leadership is that unless you hand over the bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh and allow us to put this matter to rest by essentially saying that no conclusion can be reached, we’re not going to throw you the bone of a presidential visit to the Palestinian Authority leadership. And that’s essentially what happened.”

Background: See recent IPA news release: “Biden’s Saudi Trip: For Cheaper Gas — or for Israel?

See video from the Quincy Institute: “President Biden walks in Trump’s footsteps in Saudi Arabia & Israel this week.”

See from Forbes: “Biden’s Mideast Agenda Could Increase the Risks of War.”

* “Gracias AMLO — Free Assange” * Tlaib “Breakthrough” on Espionage Act

File:Free Assange Now.jpg

ANN WILCOX, ann1.wilcox@gmail.com, @assangeactionDC  NATHAN FULLER, nathan.fuller@couragefound.org, @couragefound

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is scheduled to meet with Biden in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. He recently stated regarding the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Jullian Assange: “If they take him to the United States and he is sentenced to the maximum penalty and to die in prison, we must start a campaign to tear down the Statue of Liberty.”
Wilcox is with DC Action for Assange, which is delivering a letter of appreciation to the Mexican embassy on Tuesday from Assange Defense, an umbrella of press freedom and civil liberties groups. The letter states: “We agree with you that the prosecution of Mr. Assange for publishing is a profound threat to journalism around the world.” They will be carrying “Gracias AMLO — Free Assange” signage.

Fuller, who directs Assange Defense at the Courage Foundation in New York described the broad national coalition that has called on the Biden administration to end the prosecution of Mr. Assange, who turned 51 in Belmarsh prison in London last week. “Professional journalists, their unions and editors, constitutional scholars and lawyers, human rights activists on the left and libertarians on the right — we all agree that the persecution of Julian and the prosecution that the Department of Justice inherited from the Trump administration undermine the First Amendment.”
CHIP GIBBONS, chip@RightsAndDissent.org, @rightsdissent

Gibbons is policy director for Defending Rights & Dissent. The group recently released a statement: “Tlaib Espionage Act Reform Would be Major Breakthrough for Press Freedom and Transparency.” The amendment is scheduled to be before the House Rules Committee Tuesday.

The group states: “Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has introduced an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to increase civil rights, civil liberties, and due process protections in the law. Rep. Tlaib’s amendment targets a number of Constitutional defects identified by legal scholars and press freedom advocates which encourage prosecutorial abuse and prevent the possibility of a proper defense at trial.”

Daniel Ellsberg, famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower, said: “For half a century, starting with my own prosecution, no whistleblower charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 has had, or could have, a fair trial. These long-overdue amendments would remedy that injustice, protect the First Amendment freedom of the press, and encourage vitally-needed truth-telling.”

Defending Rights & Dissent said: “Espionage Act prosecutions of journalists’ sources were once rare, but under the Obama administration they became the go-to weapon against national security whistleblowers. Under the Trump administration, the law was charged for the first time against a publisher, in the case of Julian Assange. Nearly every press freedom group has warned of the dangerous precedent that would be set in prosecuting Assange for Espionage.”

Gibbons added: “Rep. Tlaib’s amendment is the boldest, most comprehensive effort we’ve seen yet. It would truly limit the Espionage Act to the prosecution of spies, not journalists, not their sources, and restore basic principles of due process in the event the government did take someone to trial.”

Supreme Court Inaction on New York Vaccine Mandate “Way Too Early to Celebrate”

The U.S. Supreme Court has left in place New York’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, which had received a challenge over its lack of a religious exemption. In December, the high court had rejected an emergency request from medical workers demanding a religious exemption in New York. At the time, while the majority did not cite a reason for rejecting the applications, three justices objected to the rejection. They reiterated their objections when the Court acted at the end of June.

TIMOTHY JOST; JostT@wlu.edu 
    Jost is an Emeritus Professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

LAWRENCE GOSTIN; gostin@georgetown.edu, @LawrenceGostin
    Gostin is a professor at Georgetown University, the founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health law, the faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, and the director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law. 

Jost told the Institute for Public Accuracy today: “It seems that only the three most conservative members of the Court were willing to go further at this point in limiting the ability of the states to protect the public health or expanding the restrictions placed on the state when anyone claims religious discrimination. This issue will no doubt come up again and given the inclinations that the court showed this term the result may be different.”

Gostin echoed Jost’s caution about future decisions, telling the Institute for Public Accuracy: “The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the challenge to New York State’s vaccine mandate for health care workers means that, at least for now, cities and states may require their workers, and especially those who work in health care, to be vaccinated. But it is way too early to celebrate. There is a core group of hyper-conservative justices on the Supreme Court who are flexing their muscles. The next shoe to drop may well be state vaccine mandates. 

    “I don’t foresee the Court banning cities and states from requiring vaccinations, including vaccine mandates as a condition of school entry,” Gostin said, explaining that cities and states have, after all, “historical police powers that allow them to regulate for the public’s health and safety.” However, Gostin is greatly concerned  “that the Court is poised to require cities and states to offer a broad religious exemption for vaccine mandates. New York does not have a religious opt out, and in the past the courts have not required it. That all may change in the coming months and years. Having narrow or no religious exemptions is crucial because such exemptions open a yawning gap in vaccination coverage, as we have seen with measles outbreaks.”

When asked why the Supreme Court passed up the opportunity to rule on religious freedom in this case, Gostin said: “I think the Court is waiting for another time to do that in the right case and on the full docket. But make no mistake about it, religious freedom may one day trump public health.”

Erica N. White, a research scholar at the Center for Public Health Law and Policy at Arizona State University, added: Challenges to state vaccine mandates generally are religious challenges–arguing that policies are discriminatory against would-be religious objectors. The Court has a history of allowing these challenges to play out in lower courts and has explicitly allowed mandates to remain in place.

    “The Court did not comment on why they declined cert. However, it is worth noting that the Court declined cert in Dr. A v. Hochul June 30 for the second time (the first was on December 13, 2021). The Court has also declined to grant injunctions halting New York’s vaccine mandate from being enforced while litigation plays out.”

White noted that she expects “more of the same” in the coming months: “religious-based challenges playing out in lower courts.”

Is Monkeypox a Major Threat?

Late last month, the CDC announced its mass monkeypox vaccination plan. It includes new capacity to conduct 10,000 tests per week and two types of vaccines, though one is in short supply. This week, Labcorp also offered to double testing capacity via its largest facility in the U.S. 

Seven weeks since the first monkeypox case was identified in the U.S., around 5,000 cases have been identified in 58 nations around the world. In the U.S., monkeypox is currently primarily spreading within gay communities and men who have sex with men. The CDC’s plan prioritizes for vaccination the men who have sex with men who have had multiple sexual partners in venues where the virus has spread or who live in high-spread areas. 

GREGG GONSALVES, gregg.gonsalves@yale.edu
    At Yale University, Gonsalves is an expert in policy modeling on infectious diseases and substance use. 

Last week, the World Health Organization declined to declare monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), although much of the criteria for the category is already met by monkeypox. Some experts expressed surprise, calling it a “missed opportunity.” Eric Fiegl-Ding, an epidemiologist and chief of the Covid Task Force at the New England Complex Systems Institute, told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “I think it’s very unfortunate that the WHO declined to declare a PHEIC over the weekend [of June 25]. I think there are obviously many more cases [of monkeypox] than are currently tested and recognized.” The report from the panel that made the decision notes that it would potentially reevaluate in 21 days, but Gonsalves says a review should come sooner

The World Health Network––a global coalition formed as a people’s task force in response to the Covid-19 pandemic––had already declared monkeypox a pandemic by June 22, citing the growth of the virus through local community transmission around the world, among other factors. In a press release, Kaitlin Sundling, a physician-scientist with Covid Action Group and World Health Network, stated that “monkeypox can affect anyone. Stigmatization has the potential to hinder timely identification and isolation of all cases.” 

Gonsalves began writing about monkeypox more than a month ago for The Nation; now, the U.S. is reporting about 600 cases. “It’s not getting better,” Gonsalves told IPA. “There is the sense that many of the cases are undiagnosed,” he noted. Things are “much worse than they were a week ago.” 

The risks of not declaring a PHEIC, Gonsalves says, are that “frankly we won’t be able to contain it. The more cases you have, the harder it is to do cleanup.” This is especially true with a virus like monkeypox, where, because transmission may occur through sexual contact or in crowded social situations like a dance party, “it’s hard to find close contacts… We’re starting with one hand tied behind our back.” Gonsalves warns that inaction may result in monkeypox becoming “a new resident infection in the gay community,” with a “jump-over every once in a while” to other populations.

Coverage of the virus in the U.S., Gonsalves said, must be “frank but not stigmatizing… It’s important to say that [monkeypox] is not a gay disease, particularly in communities in the U.S. and abroad where being gay means someone is under threat of violence––physical, verbal, or legal.” (Monkeypox initially “emerged in heterosexual people in Nigeria.”)

Gonsalves said that the CDC and White House have had “several ad-hoc conference calls” with clinicians, state and local public health officials, and LGBTQ advocates in recent weeks. Anne Rimoin, a longtime prominent monkeypox researcher at UCLA, “reached out to the gay community early on,” Gonsalves said, while Demetre Daskalakis––director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the CDC, a gay man, and a member of the leather community––has experience previously steering the community through MRSA and meningitis outbreaks. Daskalakis is well-versed in “the stakes… for the LGBTQ community.” 

Still, Gonsalves said that some reporters have told him that it has been hard to get traction for monkeypox stories due to “Covid fatigue” and due to the relatively restricted population that the virus is currently affecting. Reporters are “having trouble getting stories greenlighted.” Gonsalves is also concerned that although gay media is covering the issue, as well as major outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post, “information may not be distributed equally at the moment.” Indeed, when New York City launched its vaccine station in Chelsea, serving primarily white gay men, the clinic quickly reached capacity and had to stop making appointments until it received more vaccines. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, July 6, New Yorkers struggled to book appointments in a “botched roll-out that the health department is blaming on technological glitches,” wrote Politico.

But monkeypox is affecting and will continue to affect other demographics. For one thing, the virus is “already in the South”––which Gonsalves notes is the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. as well as a region with comparatively higher rates of undiagnosed HIV. Undiagnosed HIV may make people more vulnerable to other viruses like monkeypox.

AIPAC “Astroturf Groups” Flooding Airwaves Against Progressive Donna Edwards

Biden is visiting Israel next week.RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052@gmail.com, @richards1052  Silverstein is an independent journalist and researcher writing about Israeli foreign policy and covert operations. He writes at Tikun Olam and contributes to Middle East Eye, Jacobin magazine and other outlets.
He just wrote the in-depth piece “AIPAC Astroturf Groups Plow Millions into Defeating Progressive Democrats.”

He notes that the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee has been closely aligned with Republicans and that 40 of the “GOP lawmakers endorsed by AIPAC voted against certifying Joe Biden as president.” And he examines the work of Democratic Majority for Israel, “which poured $1.4-million to dent Bernie Sanders’ popularity during the 2020 presidential primaries” and has targeted numerous progressive Democrats.

His latest piece also scrutinizes how another AIPAC spinoff calling itself the United Democracy Project is targeting Democrats that AIPAC doesn’t like. He writes: “UDP may spend money to elect Democrats, but it raises money almost solely from Republican billionaire donors. …

“The Democrats on its hit list include African-American Donna Edwards who is such a ‘danger’ to Israel that UDP is spending $2.5-million (so far) to defeat her. She tweeted last week that it spent $800,000 in a single week (!) on attack ads. Her primary opponent got over $600,000 from the PAC.” The money has been poured into attack ads in Maryland.

The Intercept recently reported that even pro-Israeli Nancy Pelosi “rebukes AIPAC ads against Donna Edwards.” The ads don’t actually mention Israel, rather they claim that Edwards had poor constituent services, a charge that The Intercept notes has been “rebuked” by elected officials, labor leaders and constituents supporting Edwards.

The rightwing pro-Israeli Jewish Insider reports: “Ivey now leads Edwards ahead of MD-4 Democratic primary.”

Edwards visited Gaza in early 2009, a rarity for a member of Congress.

A prior target of UDP was Nina Turner. See recent article from Jewish Insider: “Bill de Blasio says he no longer supports AIPAC and wishes Nina Turner was in Congress.” Other targets include Summer Lee in Pennsylvania and Jessica Cisneros in Texas.

Inflation Caused by Supply Constraints and Soaring Corporate Profits Far More than Wages

Biden is traveling to Ohio on Wednesday to talk about the economy.
PIA MALANEY, pmalaney@ineteconomics.org, @piamalaneyMalaney is senior economist at the Institute for New Economic Thinking.She said today: As the Fed debates further interest rate hikes to control a ‘wage-price spiral’ it is becoming increasingly clear that it is not wages that are driving today’s high inflation. Real wages have in fact been falling.“The Fed’s solution could bring down inflation over time, but not without real economic pain for those least able to bear it.“Tackling inflation effectively demands that the administration focus on the real pressures — supply constraints and soaring corporate profits. As monopoly power of large corporations has increased, so too has their ability to raise prices. Evidence from corporate earnings calls finds senior executives bragging about the ability to use inflationary pressures to raise prices above their rising input costs, finding that inflation is good for their bottom line. Corporate profits have contributed to more than 50 percent of current inflation, as compared to wage increases, which have contributed less than 10 percent.”

Ahead of Biden Visit, State Department “Investigation” into Killing of U.S.-Palestinian Journalist Gives Israel Another Pass

File:Protesters carring photos of Shireen Abu Akleh, Lod may 22.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

MOUIN RABBANI, mail@mouinrabbani.net, @mouinrabbani

Rabbani is co-editor of JadaliyyaHe said today: “It was never in doubt that the U.S. government would put the political interests of Israel ahead of justice for a U.S. citizen killed by the Israeli military. And that is exactly what transpired as a result of the U.S. ‘investigation‘ of the killing of veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, which attempted to throw sufficient doubt on the facts of the case to — once again — give Israel a get-out-of-jail-free pass. It is the equivalent of a U.S. veto at the UN Security Council to shield Israel from accountability for its war crimes in the occupied territories.”

Rabbani wrote an in-depth piece on Abu Akleh which originally appeared in the London Review of BooksHe continued: “Anyone who believed the State Department would conduct a serious investigation of the case, or concur with the consensus among media and human rights organisations that this was a summary execution by an Israeli military sniper, needs to have their head examined. That’s not how the U.S. government works, and certainly not when it comes to ensuring Israeli impunity in its dealings with Palestinians, including those who hold U.S. citizenship.

“It seems fairly certain, and is likely be confirmed when U.S. government documents are released in several decades, that shielding Israel from accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh was the price U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken insisted the Palestinian Authority pay for a visit by Joe Biden to Mahmoud Abbas next week. And the PA was unfortunately willing to pay this price by providing the bullet that killed Abu Akleh to U.S. officials, allowing them to claim they had conducted a serious investigation. That also tells you everything you need to know about the context and outcome of this upcoming visit.”

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