With US aid flowing to Israel, Palestine rights activists say Washington is ‘complicit’ in Israeli abuses. Washington, DC – The United States needs to “look in the mirror” and reassess its unconditional support for Israel, Palestinian rights advocates say, as calls to condition billions in annual US aid are growing in the aftermath of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing. The US State Department has urged an “immediate and thorough” investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh, a US citizen, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank this week. But US-based activists say such statements ignore Washington’s “complicity” in Israeli human rights violations. “There’s deep, deep hypocrisy and irony to US officials calling for an investigation when what they really need to do is look in the mirror,” said Elias Newman, communications director at IfNotNow, a youth-led, anti-occupation Jewish American group. “When it comes to hawkish politicians who support unconditional support for the Israeli government, they need to look in the mirror and see that actually, our unconditional funding is a big factor in enabling the Israeli government to act with impunity and carry out these human rights abuses.” President Joe Biden and his top aides have repeatedly promised not to condition, restrict or reduce US aid to Israel, which totals $3.8bn annually. Jinan Deena, national organiser for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), noted that Abu Akleh became the second US citizen to be killed by Israeli forces this year, after 78-year-old Omar Assad died after being detained in the West Bank in January. Deena said Palestinian Americans such as herself do not feel protected by their own government when they travel to visit family in Palestine. “We are Americans and we are paying taxes, and that money is literally going not just to abuse our families back home and Palestinians back home, but also us now,” Deena told Al Jazeera. “A lot of us are very afraid to go [to Palestine] this year.” US envoy ‘deeply distressed’ On Friday, Israeli troops stormed Abu Akleh’s funeral procession in Jerusalem and violently assaulted mourners and pallbearers, almost causing them to drop the slain journalist’s coffin. Footage of the attack prompted an outcry across the world, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying he was “deeply troubled” by the images. “Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner,” he wrote on Twitter. US envoy to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield also said she was “deeply distressed”. But Thomas-Greenfield has made it clear – even before the US Senate confirmed her to the post last year – that shielding Israel from criticism at the United Nations would be one of her top priorities. Israel has been the US’s top ally in the Middle East for decades, with presidents and legislators from both major parties asserting their staunch commitment to the country. In addition to the $3.8bn in US aid that Israel receives annually, this year Washington added another $1bn to “replenish” its Iron Dome missile defence system after a May 2021 Gaza conflict. Against that backdrop, Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington-based think-tank, said it is clear that Washington is not an impartial player in the Israeli-Palestinian co . . . read the full article here.