UN: Shocking killing of Palestinian teen in Jenin must be probed

The IDF said that an initial review of the incident found a “high probability” that Jana Zakarneh was killed by the accidental fire of IDF soldiers directed at Palestinian gunmen during the battle.

 Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Jana Zakarneh during her funeral, in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, December 12, 2022. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Jana Zakarneh during her funeral, in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, December 12, 2022.
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

The office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an investigation into the “shocking” shooting death of Jana Zakarneh, 16, on a Jenin rooftop during armed clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces on Sunday night.

“That killing today is, indeed, shocking,” Guterres’ spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York on Tuesday.

The shooting “needs to be fully investigated,” he said, adding that “it is yet another example of the price that civilians are paying in this atmosphere where we’re seeing increased violence.”

What caused the death of Palestinian teenager Jana Zakameh?

The IDF said that an initial review of the incident found a “high probability” that Zakarneh was killed by the accidental fire of security forces directed at Palestinian gunmen.

Further, the review found that the 16-year-old was likely on a rooftop near where gunmen were aiming at IDF soldiers who were doing their best to return fire in the midst of the “fog of battle.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, in a public statement, offered his condolences to Zakarhneh’s family.

Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh speaks to The Media Line in his office in Ramallah. (credit: THE MEDIA LINE)Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh speaks to The Media Line in his office in Ramallah. (credit: THE MEDIA LINE)

PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh spoke about her death with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland when the two met on Tuesday.

“The UN must provide international protection for our people,” he said.

“The UN must provide international protection for our people.”

Hussein al-Sheikh

Wennesland tweeted that in the conversation he “reiterated that the UN will remain actively engaged [with] the parties to counter negative trends [and] bring them back on a political path that will end the occupation [and] realize a [two-state solution] based on ’67 lines.”

The United Kingdom’s Jerusalem consulate also called for a probe and for all parties to de-escalate the situation.

“We hope to see accountability in this case.”

Ned Price

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday that “we hope to see accountability in this case.”

It is unusual for the US to speak of accountability in cases that do not involve US citizens.

The Biden administration expresses its “profound condolences” to Zakarneh’s family in this “tragic” and “heartbreaking incident,” Price said.

“We understand the IDF is undertaking an investigation into what happened,” he said.

Price highlighted Lapid’s statement, saying “we note that her tragic death comes in the context of the escalating violence in the West Bank that we’ve noted and lamented for some time now,” emphasizing “this alarming increase in Palestinian and Israeli deaths and injuries, including injuries to numerous children and now the death of a young Palestinian teenager.”

“All parties” must “take steps to de-escalate the situation,” he said. “It’s vital that the parties themselves take urgent action to prevent even greater loss of life.”

According to the UN, more than 127 Palestinians have been killed this year by Israeli security forces in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, many in situations of violent clashes or gun battles with Israeli forces.

The IDF has been engaged since the end of March in a military operation called “Break the Wave” to root out Palestinian terrorists. At least 22 civilians, many of them Israelis, have been killed in Palestinian terror attacks this year.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry said that Zakarneh was “the 53rd Palestinian child to be killed by Israel this year alone.”

It called on the International Criminal Court at The Hague to “investigate, urgently and effectively, Israel’s killing of Jana and the many other Palestinian children.”