Shireen Abu Akleh: UN security council unanimously condemns killing of journalist

The Guardian - Sat May 14 10:40

The UN security council has unanimously condemned the killing of the Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while covering an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank, diplomats said.

In a rare, unanimous statement the security council 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 “journalists should be protected as civilians” and does not mention violence during the funeral on Friday for Abu Akleh.

Earlier, the US said it was “deeply troubled to see the images of Israeli police intruding into her funeral procession”.

Joe Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said: “Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”

US 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli police attack on Shireen Abu Aqleh’s funeral – video

The EU said it was “appalled by the violence in the St Joseph hospital compound and the level of unnecessary force exercised by Israeli police throughout the funeral procession”.

The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, was also “deeply disturbed” by the violence, according to a spokesperson.

Television footage showed pallbearers struggling to stop Abu Akleh’s coffin from falling to the ground as Israeli police officers charged at them, grabbing Palestinian flags from mourners.

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Abu Akleh, a star journalist for Al Jazeera, was killed as she covered unrest in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

The Qatar-based network alleged she was deliberately targeted by Israel.

The Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, initially said armed Palestinians were “likely” responsible, but Israel has since rowed back and said it was investigating.