UN condemns murder of Palestinian-American journalist

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The UN Security Council on Friday night strongly condemned the murder of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent and fair and impartial investigation.”

A press statement was approved by the 15 councilors after the language was removed and emphasized the importance of media freedom and the need to protect journalists working in dangerous areas at the urging of China and Russia, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were private. .

The council’s statement reiterated “that journalists must be protected as citizens” and also condemned the injury of Abu Akleh’s colleague.

Abu Akleh, 51, was a household name throughout the Arab world, revered for her coverage of Palestinian life under Israeli rule for the Al Jazeera satellite channel for the past 25 years.

She was shot dead on Wednesday during an Israeli military attack in the West Bank city of Jenin. Journalists with her, including an Al Jazeera colleague who was shot and wounded, said Israeli troops were firing at them, even though they were clearly identifiable as reporters.

Anger over Abu Akleh’s murder escalated Friday as Israeli riot police pushed and beat bearers, causing them to drop her coffin momentarily in a shocking start to her funeral procession. It became arguably the largest demonstration of Palestinian nationalism in Jerusalem in a generation.

Israel says it is investigating the incident. She initially suggested she may have been shot by Palestinian militants, without providing evidence, but has since returned. Israel called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority, which controls parts of the West Bank and works with it on security.

But the Palestinians rejected a joint inquiry and demanded an independent international inquiry.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for her murder and said he would immediately ask the International Criminal Court to investigate. The ICC launched an investigation into possible Israeli war crimes more than a year ago, an investigation Israel has dismissed as biased.

The Security Council did not use the word international, calling for an impartial investigation and stressing the need to be accountable.

Negotiations on the council declaration were led by Norway, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Norwegian UN ambassador Mona Juul praised the “good cooperation” and called protecting journalists a priority for her country.

“We are particularly concerned about the increasing trend of attacks against media works, and in particular against female journalists,” Juul said in a statement.

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