Last week, a group of 57 House Democrats sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and FBI Director Chris Wray.
The letter says, "We request the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launch an investigation into Ms. Abu Akleh’s death."
Does the FBI do independent investigations of US citizens killed overseas?
In a word, no.
From the FBI (this is archived but I have no reason to believe that thing have changed since it was written in 2008):
The FBI’s jurisdiction in crimes or attacks against Americans abroad dates back to the mid-1980s, when Congress passed laws authorizing us to investigate hostage-taking and kidnappings of Americans and terrorist acts against U.S. nationals or interests overseas. Of course, we don’t go uninvited into another country—we get permission from the host government and always work with that nation’s law enforcement and security personnel, in concert with the U.S. Embassy and the Ambassador.Our jurisdiction doesn’t extend to non-terrorism related homicides, robberies, rapes, and muggings of Americans—these are usually handled by local authorities. But we can—and sometimes do—offer investigative or forensics assistance in these cases if asked.How it works. Let’s say the worst has occurred—a terrorist attack or kidnapping. What happens then? In general:The victim or family (if able) contacts the U.S. Embassy closest to where the incident occurred.The U.S. Ambassador there offers American assistance to the host government (in some cases that government asks for our nation’s help first).Our Legal Attaché agent assigned to that country or region serves as a diplomatic liaison (we have more than 60 such agents around the world today) and works with the Ambassador and the entire embassy team to determine what resources are needed.With the permission of the host government and in conjunction with the State Department, the FBI deploys its resources, supporting the investigative efforts of the foreign government. The size of our overseas deployments depends on the scope of the incident and what the host government requests.
The anti-Israel members of Congress aren't asking the FBI to offer help for Israel's investigation. They are asking for a fully independent investigation rto be launched to contradict anything that Israel finds that doesn't support their accusation of premeditated murder.
The representatives know this very well. They know they are asking the FBI to violate its own policies of cooperating with local authorities and countries.
As is virtually always the case with Israel, what is demanded isn't what the demand is really about. When they pretend to demand something that they know is against the FBI's own policies, what they are really doing is issuing a letter calling the government of Israel a bunch of liars who cannot be trusted to perform an investigation.
It is libel masquerading as concern about Abu Akleh, who is merely a pawn in this sordid exercise of demonizing Israel.
The letter asking for the impossible is meant to get headlines saying that members of Congress do not trust a close ally of the US, Israel. The goal is to separate Israel from the US and to position Israel as a rogue state.
Nearly every open letter, petition, boycott, and rally by the anti-Israel crowd has the exact same goal - the goal isn't what they pretend to want, but to change the conversation around Israel so people are less likely to support it.
The easiest way to prove this is to ask a simple question about every one of these initiatives:
How does it help the Palestinians?
Does it give them more independence? More autonomy? More money? Does it help their economy? Does it weaken Palestinian extremists? Does it bring peace closer?
When the answer is nearly invariably "no," that's when you know that these are not serious initiatives.
They aren't anguished cries for help. They are all cynical propaganda gimmicks meant to hurt Israel in world public opinion, and nothing more.
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