When journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli soldier on May 11, 2022, Israeli officials falsely claimed that she had been the victim of gunfire from Palestinian militants during an illegal Israeli raid in Jenin. Videos of the incident showed Abu Akleh and a fellow journalist standing on a relatively calm street when she was killed. Israel acknowledged that its soldiers may have fired the bullet. maintained that a forensic analysis of the bullet, which was in possession of the Palestinian Authority, was necessary to determine who had fired the bullet. On July 4, the U.S. announced that it had conducted a forensic analysis of the bullet, saying it was badly damaged and therefore deemed the analysis inconclusive. Still, it said it likely had been fired from an Israeli position. In the meantime, multiple independent investigations concluded that Israel did kill Abu Akleh, with some of the investigations concluding that this was done intentionally given that Abu Akleh was wearing a vest clearly indicating that she was a member of the press, and the Israeli soldier's direct line of sight and relatively close proximity.
On September 5, the probe that Israel publicly carried into the killing of Abu Akleh was closed. Israel declared it was “highly probable" that an Israeli soldier had killed Abu Akleh, allegedly misidentifying her as armed. An explanation that appears implausible when measured against the multitude of independent investigations (see, for example, Al Haq and Forensic Architecture's investigation). U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who has been demanding accountability for the killing of Abu Akleh (who happened to be an American citizen), echoed this when questioning the Israeli whitewashing of the incident in a statement later in September, saying “[i]f, as the Israeli authorities appear to be saying, the soldier missed who he was aiming at and hit Ms. Abu Akleh by mistake, who was he aiming at? What evidence is there, if any, that anyone in the immediate vicinity of where Ms. Abu Akleh was shot was firing at the [Israeli] soldier who killed her?”
When Israel closed its probe into the killing, it said it would not open an investigation into any potential wrongdoing by any soldiers involved. In response to the Israeli announcement, the U.S. — meeting Israel at their standpoint — requested that Israel change its engagement rules to prevent similar future incidents and as a measure of accountability for the killing. A request Israel's prime minister Yair Lapid refused, saying, “no one will dictate open fire regulations to us when we are fighting for our lives.” With that, the U.S. White House, at least in public, acquiesced to Israel's demand for impunity.
The day Abu Akleh was killed, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price deflected when asked if the U.S. would support an international investigation, saying that “Israel has the wherewithal to conduct a thorough investigation.” Israel may have the means to conduct an investigation, but there is no sense in investigating its own crimes.