Jordanians mourn veteran Palestinian journalist killed by Israeli forces

Shireen Abu Akleh
(Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordanians woke up Wednesday to the shocking news that veteran Palestinian journalist and war correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was gunned down by Israeli occupation forces while covering a raid on Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. اضافة اعلان

Tributes to the 51-year—old whose face was familiar to millions of viewers — immediately started to pour on social media platforms. The heart-breaking video of the cold-blooded murder went viral and Jordanians from all walks of life were quick to express their indignation at yet another Israeli crime.

Abu Akleh was born in Jerusalem, but she had a strong affinity with Jordan, where she studied journalism and political science, obtaining the bachelor degree from Yarmouk University in 1991.

University President Islam Masad and members of the teaching faculty and student body expressed sorrow at the death of the former student.

Abu Akleh became a familiar face for many Jordanians after she joined Al-Jazeera network in 1997, reporting from the occupied Palestinian territories where she covered the second Palestinian Intifada, in 2000, the 2003 Israeli re-occupation of West Bank towns and villages, as well as the almost daily confrontations between Israeli occupation soldiers and Palestinians, among others.

Journalist and academic Mohammad Al-Mohtaseb told Jordan News that he knew Abu Akleh from the years she was a student at the Faculty of Mass Communication at Yarmouk University.

He said that “she was one of the most hard-working students whose smile never left her face  who loved journalism from all her heart, and gave it all her energy”.

She was killed “because she exposed the Zionist crimes to the whole world”, said Mohtaseb.

Nidal Mansour, president of the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists, told Jordan News that “the murder of Abu Akleh is but the latest in a series of heinous crimes committed by the occupation forces against journalists, and the Palestinian people in general”.

“Of course, this is not the first crime committed by the occupation forces among journalists; statistics indicate that since 1972, they have killed 103 journalists and wounded more than 7,000, and demolished several Palestinian and international media institutions,” he added.

Mansour stressed that “the occupation forces must be held accountable for these crimes and international institutions should form a fact-finding committee to assess how the journalist was assassinated, especially since her killing appears to have been deliberate”.

Rana Sabbagh, senior MENA editor at and co-founder and former executive director of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, told Jordan News that “Abu Akleh was dedicated, professional, and extremely respectful”.

“She was and will remain for me a role model for the professional, serious, and respected journalist that I cherish,” she added.

“An international investigation into the manner in which she was killed must be carried out and if it is proven that she was killed intentionally, the perpetrators must be punished,” she said.

A former Abu Akleh university colleague, Professor of journalism and media at the Arab Open University Sulafa Al-Zoubi, told Jordan News that she met Abu Akleh, who was in her third year, when she first went to university.

“She was a helpful person with a great character, who was loved by everyone who met her.”

“She was a hero and a wonderful journalist who was not afraid to tell the truth,” she said.

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