We were dismayed by the statement from the U.S. State Department on the death of 16-year-old Jana Majdi Zakarneh last week. According to the Israeli military, a preliminary review of the incident indicates that Zakarneh was unintentionally hit when the IDF returned fire at Palestinian gunmen operating on a rooftop in Jenin; it appears that she went to the rooftop of a nearby building to retrieve her cat and was caught in the crossfire.

It is noteworthy that most of the Arab world has not rushed to judgment against Israel in this incident; while Palestinian Authority officials railed about a “cold-blooded murder,” we have not seen anything like the heretofore-routine incendiary condemnations of Israel. Nevertheless, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price still had this to say: “We understand the IDF is undertaking an investigation into what happened. We hope to see accountability in this case.”


What exactly does he mean by “accountability?” The IDF has already acknowledged that Zakarneh was likely killed by Israeli fire, albeit unintentionally. Does Price mean that there must also be a finding of individual culpability or institutional negligence for the investigation to be accepted as kosher?

The IDF has been engaged in a more than nine-month long military operation called Break the Wave to root out Palestinian terrorists operating in the Jenin area, so it is disingenuous for him to suggest that there was something sinister about this IDF operation in Jenin.

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