UN Security Council unanimously condemns killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

AP , AFP , Saturday 14 May 2022

The UN Security Council on Friday night strongly condemned the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation”.

Shireen Abu Akleh
Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli activists, from the Combatants for the Peace movement, carry posters during a gathering in honour of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank biblical city of Bethlehem on May 12, 2022. AFP


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 worldwide, 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.

UN experts condemn the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh & call for a prompt, transparent, thorough & independent investigation.

US, EU slam Israeli occupation police attack on pallbearers

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.

As the body of Abu Akleh, a Palestinian Christian and a US citizen, left St Joseph's hospital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Israeli occupation police stormed mourners who had hoisted Palestinian flags. 

Israeli occupation police routinely intervene against public displays of the Palestinian flag despite an Israeli occupation court ruling last year confirming that flying the flag was legal and does not constitute a criminal offence.

Police said they had warned the crowd to stop "nationalistic" songs and were forced to act as "violent rioters were trying to disrupt the proper course of the funeral". 

But prominent Palestinian figure Hanan Ashrawi said the police charge on pallbearers showed occupation forces "inhumanity".

The US was "deeply troubled to see the images of Israeli occupation police intruding into her funeral procession today", Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

"Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner."

The EU tweeted that it was "appalled by the violence in the St Joseph Hospital compound and the level of unnecessary force exercised by Israeli occupation police throughout the funeral procession".

Israel suggests Palestinian responsibility, backtracks

The Qatar-based network alleged that Israel's occupation forces deliberately targeted her.

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 Israeli occupation troops for her killing and said he would immediately ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) 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 women journalists in particular," Juul said.

**This story was edited by Ahram Online

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