Palestinian honor guards carry the coffin of Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein during his funeral in the West Bank city of Ramallah December 11.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The UN Security Council is calling on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to "swiftly" investigate the death of Ziad Abu Ein, a 55-year-old Palestinian minister who collapsed and died on Wednesday after a confrontation with Israeli security forces in the West Bank.
Abu Ein, who headed the PLO’s Commission Against the Separation Wall and Settlements, died en route to a Ramallah hospital after being shoved and grabbed by the neck by an Israeli policeman at a demonstration near the village of Turmus Aiya.
"The Members of the Security Council encourage the parties to ensure that a swift and transparent investigation is undertaken," a statement released Friday read.
The cause of the minister's death is still in dispute, with the Israeli Health Ministry saying he died of a heart condition coupled with stress, and the Palestinians suggesting it was directly correlated to the altercation, which quickly turned violent.
Israeli pathologists participated in an autopsy – conducted on Thursday at the pathological institute in Abu Dis in the West Bank – along with Palestinian and Jordanian doctors. The latter believe Abu Ein died from being struck, inhaling tear gas and not receiving prompt medical attention.
The 15 members of the Security Council offered condolences to the minister's family and to the Palestinian people, expressing grief over the official's death.
Echoing comments made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon two days prior, the Security Council urged both sides to show restraint and prevent the situation from escalating and "destabilizing" further.
On Wednesday, Ban said Israeli authorities had to conduct a "prompt, thorough and transparent investigation" into the circumstance that lead to the loss of Abu Ein's life.
The UN body also made note of Israel's "willingness" to carry out a joint investigation into the incident, something Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assured the PA the Israeli government would do.
The Council's call for calm follows in the footsteps of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who has said developments on the ground were very worrying and must be avoided by exercising "maximum restraint."