Jerusalem, May 11 – Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed Wednesday whereas masking clashes within the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was amongst Arab media’s most outstanding figures and broadly hailed for her bravery and professionalism.
In the hours after her demise, younger Palestinians described Abu Akleh, 51, as an inspiration, particularly to girls, lots of whom had been motivated to pursue journalism due to her.
“She never tired,” Al Jazeera senior worldwide correspondent Hoda Abdel-Hamid advised AFP by cellphone from Ukraine. “She was always there whenever anything happened… She wanted to be there, to tell the story, constantly,” she added.
In an interview shortly earlier than her demise, Abu Akleh, who was additionally a US citizen, described herself as a “product of Jerusalem,” with the Israeli-Palestinian battle shaping a lot of her life.
She was born in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem to a Palestinian Christian household. Her mom was born in west Jerusalem, earlier than the creation of Israel in 1948, and her father was from Bethlehem, within the occupied West Bank.
She graduated from college the 12 months the Oslo peace accords had been signed after which joined the nascent Voice of Palestine radio, earlier than switching to Al Jazeera in 1997, the place she went on to turn into an iconic persona in Arab media.
In an indication of her significance to Palestinian audiences, flowers had been positioned on the aspect of the street by West Bank residents because the car carrying her physique moved in the direction of Nablus, the place an post-mortem was scheduled earlier than her burial in Jerusalem.
– Breaking gender roles –
Her prominence grew by way of her protection of the second Palestinian intifada, or rebellion, from 2000 to 2005.
Senior Al Jazeera journalist Dima Khatib tweeted that Abu Akleh was “one of the first Arab women war correspondents in the late 1990s when the traditional role of women was to present from the television studio”.
“Shireen was a pioneer in a generation that broke stereotypical gender roles in TV journalism.”
Al Jazeera, the Palestinian Authority and witnesses stated she was shot by Israeli forces whereas masking an Israeli military raid in Jenin.
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated it was “likely” that she was killed by indiscriminate gunfire from Palestinian militants.
Abdel-Hamid stated: “We need investigation and accountability, not just investigations that lead nowhere.”
In a latest interview, Abu Akleh stated she was typically afraid whereas reporting however made positive to keep away from pointless threat.
“I don’t throw myself at death,” she advised an outlet within the West Bank metropolis of Nablus. “I search for a safe place to stand and how to protect my crew before worrying about the footage.”
Last 12 months, Abu Akleh wrote within the publication This Week in Palestine that Jenin, the place the place she died, was not simply “one ephemeral story in my career or even in my personal life”.
“It is the city that can raise my morale and help me fly. It embodies the Palestinian spirit that sometimes trembles and falls but, beyond all expectations, rises to pursue its flights and dreams.”