The UN’s human rights chief on Friday said the circumstances of the death of a senior Palestinian official this week were “disturbing” and called for a timely and impartial investigation.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein welcomed an investigation launched by the Israeli military into the death of Ziad Abu Ein in the West Bank on Wednesday.
He said the probe needed to be “quick and utterly transparent if people are to have faith in its findings.
“Peaceful protest is a human right and security forces must exercise appropriate restraint when policing protests in accordance with international standards,” he stated.
“Because of the well-established illegal nature of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, such protests will inevitably continue,” the Jordanian prince added.
Abu Ein was pronounced dead at a a march against settlements by about 300 Palestinians who intended to plant olive trees as a symbolic act.
A confrontation between several demonstrators, including Abu Ein, and Israeli soldiers occurred after protesters disobeyed orders and got physical with several of the security forces.
Abu Ein, later removed from the action, was videotaped grasping his chest and soon after fell unconscious. Israeli army medical personnel attended to Abu Ein and were unsuccessful in resuscitating the 55-year-old man.
The Palestinian leadership blamed Israel for “killing” Abu Ein, while Israeli authorities denied the charge, said an investigation had been launched and called for calm.
The UN rights chief also urged a proper investigation into the shooting on Wednesday by Israeli troops of a 14-year-old Palestinian boy during a clash at the Jelazoun refugee camp in the West Bank. The IDF maintained that it did not use live fire and the boy was given first aid by an army doctor before being taken to the Palestinian hospital.
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, a member of the Hashemite Royal Family, also highlighted separate Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank this year by Israeli security forces.
“This continuous stream of fatal incidents underscores the need for effective accountability measures,” Zeid said.