Shireen Abu Akleh killing: ‘She was the voice of events in Palestine’ | Palestinian territories


SHireen Abu Akleh, the Al Jazeera correspondent who was shot and killed in Jenin in the West Bank, was a seasoned observer of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, recognized throughout the Arab world as an authoritative voice on the most contested history of the region.

The 51-year-old Palestinian and American citizen had reported on almost every flashpoint in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for three decades, during which she regularly criss-crossed both sides telling the stories of Palestinians and Israelis from their homes, their battlefields and the living rooms of rulers.

She covered the second Intifada, the Israeli siege of Jenin in 2002, the death of Yasser Arafat, numerous raids in the West Bank and wavering attempts to find lasting peace.

Abu Akleh was highly regarded across the region and considered one of the network’s pre-eminent talents, whose coverage has come under scrutiny from vested interests on both sides of the conflict since it made its debut. on screen in 1997.

Shireen Abu Akleh
Shireen Abu Akleh. “She was really an integral part of Palestinian history.” Photography: AP

“Shireen is the face/voice of events in the Palestinian territory – probably anyone who follows the news from there knows her,” said Tamara Alrifai, senior spokeswoman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Nations (UNRWA). “It is not possible to follow the news from the West Bank and not have heard/seen Shireen’s reports.

“She was truly an integral part of Palestinian history and the fact that she covered so many stormy events unscathed makes her death today even more shocking.”

Muzna Shihabi, a longtime friend, said: “Shireen is a resilient person who lost her parents at a very young age, but she bounced back and earned her journalism degree at a time when journalists in the Arab world were only supporters of their governments.

“She knew things were changing and she kept going until she became the storyteller for the Palestinian cause. It is a reference in the Arab world. Everyone in the street would stop and salute her for her courage, her determination and her unique way of telling Palestinian stories. Arabs cannot go to Palestine. Shireen took them there.

Abu Akleh’s colleagues claim she was killed by Israeli fire shortly after arriving at the scene of a raid near Jenin. Israel disputed that claim, suggesting Palestinian gunmen may be responsible.

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said he was “very sad” to learn of Abu Akleh’s death. “I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of his death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin,” he tweeted.

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