US Lawmakers, UN Officials Demand Probe Into Killing of Al Jazeera Journalist
In the video footage, Abu Akleh can be seen wearing a jacket which clearly depicts that she is part of the “PRESS.”
Outrage and calls for an international probe into the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh grow a day after the Palestinian health ministry announced that the Israeli forces shot dead Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank.
United States Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has called on the US government to investigate the killing of Abu Akleh, saying that Washington should not allow “the same people committing those war crimes to do the investigation,” referring to Israel.
“We need to investigate, ourselves, the killing of an American citizen. Somebody that was out there being a guardian of truth and doing her job was murdered by an apartheid government that we continue to fund with unconditional aid,” Tlaib told Al Jazeera in a TV interview.
The 51-year-old journalist was hit by a bullet while covering Israeli raids in Jenin and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition where she was declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) has called for a “transparent and independent investigation into the actions that led” to her killing.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Betty McCollum wrote on Twitter, “Shocking to learn that Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year old US citizen, was shot in the face and killed while reporting in the occupied West Bank.”
Arab Countries Seek UN Probe
Meanwhile, Arab countries at the United Nations (UN) on Wednesday called for an independent, international probe into what they called the ‘assassination’ of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, was quoted as saying, "The Arab group in New York adopted a statement condemning in the strongest possible term this criminal act by the Israeli occupying authorities and demanding an international independent investigation on this crime," news agency AFP reported.
In the video footage of the aftermath of the killing, which is circulating on social media, Abu Akleh can be seen wearing a jacket which clearly depicts that she is part of the “PRESS.”
Al Jazeera, in a statement, said Abu Akleh was “assassinated in cold blood” and called on the international community to hold Israeli forces responsible.
The demand for an independent international probe has also been raised in three identical letters send to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the UN Security Council and the president of the General Assembly, Mansour said.
Further, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said that she was “appalled” and insisted, “Impunity must end".
‘Bring the Perpetrators to Justice’: EU Spokesperson
Luis Miguel Bueno, the European Union's (EU’s) spokesperson for the Middle East and North Africa, said on Twitter that he was “shocked” by the killing of Abu Akleh.
Bueno added, “We express our deepest condolences to her family and call for a swift and independent investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice."
Meanwhile, Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said that the killing was “a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which Israel locks Palestinians”.
Tweeting with the hashtag 'apartheid', she added:
"The killing of @Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akleh is a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which Israel locks Palestinians. Israel is killing Palestinians left and right with impunity. The international community must act to end #Israel #apartheid. (sic)."
Meanwhile, Neil Wigan, the UK’s ambassador to Israel, said on Twitter: “Journalists must be allowed to work safely and freely. I urge a rapid, thorough and transparent investigation.”
Pakistan PM Condemns 'Assassination', Ropes in India
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while condemning the “assassination” of Abu Akleh, said, "Silencing voices of those who tell stories of oppressed people is part of a deliberate strategy employed by Israel & India in Palestine & Occupied Kashmir."
Killing Constitutes a Grave Breach of the Geneva Conventions: RSF
Christophe Deloire, secretary general and director general of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), wrote on Twitter that the killing of Abu Akleh “constitutes a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions that mandate the protection of civilians, and of UN Security Council resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists”.
Further, Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, said, "It’s, of course, not a one-off event, we know that Israeli forces systematically have used excessive force. This is an event that needs to be understood in the context of this systemic practice and the killings of many other Palestinian journalists,” Al Jazeera reported.
(With inputs from Al Jazeera and AFP.)
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