Given that the United Nations has a considerable bias against Israel, the organisation may not be the best-placed source to independently resolve a highly controversial case between Israel and the Palestinians over where questions of guilt and responsibility lie. John Simpson appears to have no such doubts though, as this Twitter exchange from yesterday afternoon shows:
John Simpson [2:03 PM]: The UN says the information it has gathered shows that Israeli soldiers fired the shots that killed the distinguished Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on 11 May. She was covering an Israeli army raid in the West Bank town of Jenin.
John Simpson [2:13 PM]: The UN says Shireen Abu Akleh & her colleagues made a concerted effort to show the Israeli soldiers at the scene that they were from the Press. The Israelis issued no warnings. There was no shooting going on at the time. The bullets which killed her were ‘seemingly well-aimed’.
Alan Lyons [2:17 PM]: John, "seemingly well-aimed" is an unpleasant insinuation. If you or the UN wish to allege that the IDF is deliberately targeting or assassinating journalists Vs being unfortunately hit in the middle of a firefight, then you should state that clearly.
John Simpson [3:00 PM]: I don’t think the UN is insinuating anything, unpleasantly or otherwise. It’s openly saying that Shireen & her colleagues were clearly marked as journalists, there was no other shooting going on at the time, and that Israeli soldiers fired the aimed shots that killed her.
Alan Lyons [3:05 PM]: Could you post a link? I have some problems with this: 1. It would be an epic PR own goal for the IDF to be targeting journalists 2. I read that there was a firefight. Is that not true? Are they describing a "lull"? 3. Is it true Hamas has not allowed ballistics on the bullet?
John Simpson [3:19 PM]: I read this on the UN High Commission for Human Rights website. I’m not sure about its being an epic own-goal for the IDF, Alan — 30 journalists have been shot & killed by the IDF since 2000 in the West Bank. Video just before Shireen was shot seems to show no firefight.
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