Latest updates: Did Israelis or Palestinians shoot an Al Jazeera journalist? Bullet may hold clues.


credit… Via Agence France-Presse

Jerusalem – Shireen Abu Okla originally studied to become an architect but could not see a future in this field. So she decided to go into journalism instead, becoming one of the most famous Palestinian journalists.

“I chose the press to be close to the people,” she said in a short clip published by Al-Jazeera after she was killed on Wednesday by gunfire in the West Bank. “It may not be easy to change reality, but at least I was able to make their voice heard to the world.”

Palestinian-American Ms Abu Akleh, 51, has been a familiar face on the Al Jazeera network, having spent 25 years reporting, making her name amid the violence of the Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada, which has rocked Israel and the occupation. The beginning of the West Bank in 2000.

She was shot in the head in the city of Jenin in the West BankAl Jazeera and the Palestinian Health Ministry blamed Israeli forces for the killing. The Israeli army said on Twitter That “armed Palestinian shooting” may be the reason behind this.

Muhammad Daraghmeh, Ramallah office manager for the Arabic-speaking news center Al Sharq NewsAbu Aqleh, who has been a friend of Ms. Abu Akleh for many years, said she has remained committed to covering all issues affecting Palestinians, big and small.

On Wednesday, he said he last spoke to her two days ago, and told her he didn’t think events in Jenin were important enough to be covered by a great journalist like her.

“But she’s gone anyway,” he said. “She covered the story the way it should be.”

Wissam Hammad, a news producer at Al Jazeera, who has worked with her for 17 years, said it was not the biggest stories or political stories that interested Ms. Abu Okla the most, but the smaller ones that showed how people live. He said she would watch a story that others wouldn’t see.

“Sometimes I would say, ‘No, Shereen, forget it,’ he said, ‘It’s not a big story.'” “But she was always thinking about so many different angles about how to do that, how we could make it a very human and very touching story about Palestinians that no other journalist would think of doing.”

credit…Hazem Badr/AFP – Getty Images

Ms. Abu Okla was born in Jerusalem to a Catholic family, studied in Jordan and graduated with a BA in Journalism. Her friends and colleagues said she spent time in the United States when she was younger and obtained American citizenship through a family on her mother’s side, who lived in New Jersey.

Al Jazeera said that after graduating from college, she worked for various media outlets, including the Voice of Palestine radio and Amman satellite channel, before joining Al Jazeera in 1997. She quickly became a household name among Palestinians and Arabs throughout the Middle East, inspiring her Lots to keep track of.

Dalia Hatouqa, a Palestinian-American journalist and friend of Ms. Abu Oqla, said that her live TV reports and references have become a symbol for those who wanted to emulate her.

“I know a lot of girls who basically grew up in front of the mirror holding their hair brushes and pretending to be Shereen,” said Ms. Hattuqa. “That’s how it has always been and is important.”

Among them was her 27-year-old niece, Lina Abu Okla. When she was a little girl, she would take her aunt’s written reports and read them on Barbie’s pink phone.

“I always said to her, ‘I don’t know if I had the courage and strength that you have,’” Lina Abu Akleh said, “and she said it’s not easy, it’s very hard work.”

She explained that her death also showed the dangers faced by Palestinian journalists while doing their work, whether in the occupied West Bank, in Gaza or inside Israel.

In a 2017 interview with the Palestinian channel Al-Najah NBC, she was asked if she was afraid of being shot.

“Of course I feel afraid,” she said. “At a certain moment you forget that fear. We don’t throw ourselves to death. We go and try to find where we can stand and how to protect the team with me before I think about how to get on the screen and what I’m going to say.”

The Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Britain, Husam Zomlot, described her as “the most prominent Palestinian journalist.”

credit…Hazem Badr/AFP – Getty Images

The Abu Akleh family became widely known in the Palestinian community because of Mrs. Abu Akleh.

Her cousin, Fadi Abu Oqla, said: “Everyone knows who Shireen is.” “Whenever I introduce myself, people ask me, what does Sherine have to do with you?”

She lived in Ramallah, the West Bank and Jerusalem. Her cousin said that she lived in Jerusalem with her brother and his family, including two nieces and a nephew, to whom she was very devoted.

“She was my best friend, my second mom, my travel companion,” Lina Abu Okla said. “She was everything to me.”

Their last trip together was to New York to spend the Christmas holidays with their relatives in the United States.

Ms. Abu Okla recently spent several weeks in the United States, she returned to Ramallah about a month ago. But it seems she hasn’t seriously considered living in the United States, said Daraghmeh.

Al Jazeera once sent her to the United States for work. Three months later, she returned to Ramallah.

When she came back, she said, ‘I can breathe now. Mr. Daraghmeh remembers everything in the United States is technical and complex. “Here life is simple. I love Palestine. I want to stay here.”

An official funeral procession will be held today, Thursday, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, outside the presidential residence and in the presence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the president’s office.

She will be buried on Friday in Jerusalem in a cemetery next to her mother.

Ms. Hattuqa said: “Sherine was a pioneer. “I’m just sad that she won’t be around to continue to lead the industry.”

Please Abdul Rahim reported from Jerusalem, and Ben Hubbard From Doha, Qatar. Heba Yazbek Contributed reporting from Nazareth, Israel. Kitty Bennett Contribute to research.



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