UNSC calls for ‘impartial’ probe into killing of Palestinian journalist
United Nations, May 13 (EFE).- The United Nations Security Council Friday called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and impartial investigation into (the) killing” of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while covering an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank.
However, the unanimously-approved statement does not mention Israel and the incident of the fatal shooting of the journalist on Wednesday and the subsequent violent incident that took place during the funeral of Abu Akleh.
The final text says that “journalists should be protected as civilians” and sends condolences to the grieving family of the reporter, who was also a US national.
The Security Council issued the statement Friday night after media videos and pictures showed Israeli police officers in Jerusalem beating and kicking mourners next to the coffin carrying the body of Abu Akleh.
As the commotion grew with more police officers charging toward mourners, the pallbearers briefly lost control of the coffin that almost landed on the ground.
However, the Security Council did not make the slightest reference to the incident and said it would “continue to monitor the situation very closely.”
The United States often uses its veto power to prevent any explicit condemnation of Israel or tone down the language of Security Council resolutions and statements to save its historical ally from being singled out in the Middle East.
Abu Akleh was shot dead on Wednesday morning in the occupied West Bank during an Israeli raid on the city of Jenin. Witnesses said an Israeli soldier killed her.
The Israeli Army said while Israeli fire might have killed her “mistakenly,” its initial probe suggested that a Palestinian gunman could have hit her.
Abu Akleh, 51, was an Al Jazeera reporter.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres criticized “some Israeli police” for the violence during the funeral of the journalist and demanded respect for freedom of expression and assembly.
“The Secretary-General was moved by the outpouring of sympathy from the thousands of Palestinian mourners over the past two days, a testament to Abu Akleh’s work and life,” his spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Guterres “was deeply disturbed by the confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinians gathered at St. Joseph Hospital, and the behavior of some police present at the scene.”
He urged “respect for fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and peaceful assembly.” EFE