Iran’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Zahra Ershadi says veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank, is another victim of the international community's inaction toward the Tel Aviv regime’s ongoing war crimes and terrorism against Palestinians.
She made the remarks at the United Nations Security Council Arria-formula meeting on the Protection of Journalists in New York on Tuesday.
“Veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in cold blood by occupying forces in Jenin [refugee camp] of the occupied Palestinian territories,” Ershadi said.
The senior Iranian diplomat said that Abu Akleh “was a brave voice for her people and a national symbol of truth and resilience against the oppressive occupation and injustice that Palestinians have endured for so long.”
The assassination of the renowned Palestinian reporter is part of a long war, harassment, intimidation and violence against journalists, and is aimed at covering up the Israeli regime's crimes against Palestinians. It is in flagrant violation of international law and norms, Ershadi noted.
“Shireen Abu Akleh is also another victim of the international community's inaction over the Israeli regime's ongoing war crimes and terrorism against Palestinians,” she said.
“We call on the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to take an immediate action, put an end to the Israeli regime's aggression and impunity, ensure protection of Palestinian people, and hold the regime to account for the highest number of international crimes committed worldwide,” Iran’s UN envoy added.
Ershadi underlined the importance of protecting civilians, including journalists, media professionals and related personnel, in armed conflict. “All parties to an armed conflict must fully comply with their obligations under international law to protect civilians, including journalists,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the escalation of violence, intimidation and harassment of journalists in armed conflict in many parts of the world, especially deliberate attacks that violate international humanitarian law, has reached a high point.
“At the same time, immunity from punishment for war crimes committed against journalists in armed conflicts has seriously endangered their security and protection,” the Iranian diplomat noted.
“In this regard, we emphasize the need for stronger UN actions to protect journalists and ensure accountability for crimes committed against them within an armed conflict,” she said.
“We reaffirm our firm position that human rights, including protection of journalists, fall on the responsibility of the General Assembly and other relevant UN bodies, and that the Security Council should only address the matter once it is directly related to international peace and security,” Ershadi concluded.
Akleh, a well-known Palestinian journalist for the Qatar-based and Arabic-language Al Jazeera television news network, was killed earlier this month while covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the occupied West Bank
In video footage from the incident circulated widely online, Abu Akleh could be seen wearing a blue flak jacket marked with the word “PRESS” when being shot by Israeli troops, exposing the gruesome nature of the daylight murder.
Ali Samoudi, a Palestinian journalist who was accompanying Abu Akleh, was hospitalized in stable condition after being shot in the back.
Samoudi told the Associated Press that they were among a group of seven reporters who went to cover the Israeli raid early Wednesday.
He said they were all wearing protective gear that marked them as reporters, and they passed by Israeli troops so the soldiers would see them.
The journalist said the first shot missed them, then a second struck him, and a third killed Abu Akleh, adding that there were no combatants or other civilians in the area — only the reporters and Israeli army troops.
Shaza Hanaysheh, a reporter with a Palestinian news website, who was also among the reporters, gave a similar account, stressing there were no clashes or shooting in the immediate area.