The UN Security Council on Friday night strongly condemned the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation.” The unanimous condemnation came hours after Israeli police charged and beat mourners at her funeral in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The statement – a rare case of Security Council unity on an issue related to Israel – also called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and impartial investigation into her killing.”
According to diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity, the negotiations on the text were particularly arduous.
China successfully pushed the US to remove paragraphs denouncing abuses committed against the media around the world, defending their freedom and urging their protection while covering military operations, according to diplomatic sources and different versions of the declaration obtained by AFP during the discussions.
The final text merely says that “journalists should be protected as civilians” and does not mention violence during the Friday funeral for Abu Akleh.
Anger at Abu Akleh’s killing escalated Friday when Israeli riot police pushed and beat pallbearers, causing them to briefly drop her casket in a shocking start to her funeral procession. It turned into perhaps the largest display of Palestinian nationalism in Jerusalem in a generation. Abu Akleh, a star journalist for Al Jazeera, was killed as she covered unrest in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
Israel suggests Palestinian responsibility, then backtracks
The Qatar-based network alleged that she was deliberately targeted by Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett initially said that armed Palestinians were “likely” responsible, but Israel has since backtracked on the allegation and said it was investigating the incident.
But the Palestinians rejected a joint investigation and demanded an independent international investigation.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for her killing and said he would immediately ask the International Criminal Court to investigate. The ICC launched an investigation into possible Israeli war crimes over a year ago, a probe Israel has rejected as biased.
The Security Council did not use the word international, calling for an impartial investigation and stressing the need to ensure accountability.
Negotiations on the council statement were led by Norway, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Norway’s UN Ambassador Mona Juul commended the “good collaboration,” calling the protection of journalists a priority for her country.
“We are particularly concerned about the rising trend in attacks on media works, and on women journalists in particular” Juul said in a statement.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)
Source: France 24