PARIS (Reuters) -French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday urged Israel to complete swiftly investigations into the death of a Palestinian journalist killed last week during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank, the Elysee said.
Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead on Wednesday. Her death, and Israeli police violence toward mourners at her funeral two days later, have sparked Palestinian and international outrage.
“The president said that he was moved by the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and reiterated France’s position that a rapid conclusion of the investigation was needed,” the French president’s office said following a telephone call between Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Israel and the Palestinians are conducting separate probes of her death and both remain at loggerheads over the fatal shooting.
The Palestinians accuse Israel of assassinating her and have called for an international response. Israel has denied targeting her, saying she may have been shot accidentally by a soldier or by a Palestinian gunman as they exchanged fire.
The Elysee said that Macron had also expressed concern about Israel’s recent decision to press ahead with more than 4,000 new settlement homes in the West Bank, land that the Palestinians seek for a state.
Most countries consider settlements illegal under international law, a position Israel rejects.
A statement from Bennett’s office following the call made no mention of Abu Akleh or of the settlements.
The Elysee also said Macron and Bennett would coordinate efforts to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Both leaders have been involved in so far fruitless diplomatic efforts aimed at bringing peace to Ukraine.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Tassilo Hummel in Paris, Editing by William Maclean and Crispian Balmer)