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Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists in Cooperation with Zain Company Organized a Media Forum

Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists in Cooperation with Zain Company Organized a Media Forum

In an emotional memorial service of the life and career of “the Star of Jerusalem” and Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh:

·       Mansour: perpetrators are known and the assassination of Shireen will not obscure the truth.

·       Al-Budeiri: Shireen’s funeral portrayed the first scene of Palestine liberation.

·       Simri: Time doesn’t pass in Shireen’s absence, she was the most outstanding person in my life.

·       Elayyan:  Shireen was murdered by a professional sniper.

·       Tahboub: I fear the occupation forces in the case of Shireen assassination.

·       Abu Baydar: the martyr left an unforgettable impression on everyone that knew her.

·       A mural documented the audience’s writings for Shireen… and Shireen’s shield was distributed.

In words of proudness, glory, and honor, colleagues of the Journalist, the Star of Jerusalem, and the martyr Shireen Abu Akleh documented phases of her professional, humanitarian, and brave journey. That was during an emotional memorial service organized by Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) in cooperation with Zain Company on Tuesday evening at the Royal Cultural Center. The memorial was attended by a great number of her loving people. The memorial took place after less than two months of her assassination, which was committed by the brutal Israeli occupation soldiers, as until this moment, international investigation has not been opened yet.

At the outset of the event, CDFJ called on the audience to join a moment of silence for Aqaba’s incident martyrs, and for the martyr Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Testimonies and stories provided by Al Jazeera reporter in Ramallah Guevara Al-Budeiri, and Al Jazeera reporter in Jerusalem Najwan Simri at the memorial which was chaired by the Founder of CDFJ, Nidal Mansour, have depicted an anecdotal experience of Abu Akleh’s life and career. Their testimonies were emotionally mixed with pain of loss and hurt of absence, and the anger of lawlessness of her murdering as a witness devoted her life for the Palestinian case, and was welcomed at every Arab house to cover people’s suffering.

Former Member of Parliament Dima Tahboub, the wife of Al Jazeera martyr reporter Tariq Ayoub who was murdered by an American grenade targeted the channel offices, in addition to Program Director at Al-Haq Palestinian organization Tahseen Elayyan, and the Jordanian Journalist Jihad Abu Baydar, a former colleague of Shireen’s during their studies at Al-Yarmouk University spoke at the memorial.

“Coverage continues, so it was her saying, and on this path we shall walk. Shireen was assassinated, but her murder will not obscure the truth.” Mansour said.

“We know the perpetrators; we know them even before the murder of Abu Akleh in cold blood happened, we know them when they murdered the writer “Ghassan Kanafani. Before and after Kanafani, martyrs have been murdered and their blood indicated the murderer, the brutal Israeli occupation.” Mansour added.

Mansour quoted Palestinian Journalist Mohammed Daraghmeh’s lamentation for Shireen: “your murder was a battle of confrontation, like battels of Bab Al-Amoud, Al-Haram Al-Sharif gates, the Western Wall, Bab Al-Rahmah, and Al-Marwani Mosque.”

“Thee, the daughter of Maryam, after you were gone, the value of things got decreased, we no longer see anything worthy of fatigue, the one who was worth it is now gone, the Star of Jerusalem is now gone.” He Added.

In her testimony, Al-Budeiri revealed the impact of Abu Akleh’s assassination reflected on Palestinians and said: “Al Jazeera offices became visiting place for the martyr’s loving ones, and I received thousands of calls from loving people. I received two calls from the most important Palestinian prisoners in the occupation prisons, one of whom has been in captivity for 42 years, and burst into tears for Shireen. I wouldn’t be able to mention their names so they are not subjected to solitary confinement.” Al-Budeiri expressed

Al-Budeiri said that Shireen’s funeral that was driven a distance of 140 kilometers, drew a scene of Palestine liberation, and the Palestinian flag was raised during Shireen’s funeral against the will of the occupation, noting that Abu Akleh was like the “teacher” for Al-Budeiri, as she trained her on the journalistic profession when Al-Budeiri first covered the blockage of the Church of the Nativity, “I told Shireen that this task requires professionalism, yet she insisted that I perform it as she said practice makes perfect.” Al-Budeiri added. The martyr’s colleague further indicated that Abu Akleh was the one who created a new approach in covering the Palestinian case, the approach of “Human being is the story” throughout 23 years of continuous coverage.

“Shireen was a nice guest at every Arab house she visited, there is no one like her. She drew the first scene of Palestine liberation when the Palestinian flag was raised during her funeral against the will of the occupation. Currently, we may require years to go back to field work as Shireen was assassinated with no protection.” Al-Budeiri further added.

Al-Budeiri pointed out that during Shireen’s funeral, the church bells of all Christian denominations in Jerusalem rang for 3 hours and 45 minutes straight. This was exclusively witnessed only for the two Palestinian leaders, Abedalqader Al-Husseini, and Izz Aldeen AlQassam. Al-Budeiri later revealed that Al Jazeera offices has received a Palestinian dress (Thoub) handmade and sewed by ladies from Gaza was carried across Palestinian cities, and eventually arrived with a woman from Hebron city to Al Jazeera office, in an extremely complicated manner. The dress was accompanied by a piece of paper that read: “to complete the journey.”

In her turn, Journalist Simri told her story with tears of a friend, colleague, and beloved one. Simri said that “time doesn’t pass in her absence,” and streets of Jerusalem, and her house district remember her. Simri expressed a set of mutual incidents with Shireen, especially during the covering of the disengagement plan of Gaza in 2005. She indicated that this period of time made them professionally, and humanely close.

“Shireen was the most outstanding person in my life, she was humble and we had plans together. When I came from the north of Palestine to Jerusalem, she was a refuge for me. Until now, I cannot imagine the terrorist way she was murdered in, her absence is as effective as her presence.” Simri said.

She clarified that since the moment Shireen was murdered, everyone knew the murderer, who planned and ordered the murdering. “Justice is that Shireen be among us today, the occupation believes we don’t deserve to live, as they control the details of our daily life. However, after her death, I became more attached and committed to the press than ever.” Simri further added.

During the session, CDFJ displayed a video that was specifically made about Abu Akleh’s working march. The text displayed in the video was written by the Journalist Ahmad Hassan Al-Zoubi, voice-over performed by the Journalist Tariq Hamed, and produced by the Journalist Anas Damra. After that, a report prepared by AJ+ was displayed for the first time, about Shireen’s relation with pets, especially with her dog “filfil” who is still waiting for her return.

In his turn, the Program Director, Tahseen Elayyan, at Al-Haq Organization for Human Rights, a Palestinian organization concerned with monitoring and documenting violations of the occupation, spoke about the latest development in the reports that were submitted to the International Criminal Court, and about the delay in the court’s procedures. He revealed that a “false” news article was published by the court’s official website about the arrest of one person involved in the case of the assassination of Abu Akleh, and the initiating of two investigations into it.


Elayyan indicated that moving through the court requires vigorous and continuous follow-up, because the court’s work mechanisms do not depend on the investigation of a single case, but rather a group of cases, pointing out that there has also been a delay in examining Palestinian complaints about violations of the occupation related to deciding on the court’s spatial jurisdiction in the Palestinian territories.


Elayyan affirmed that Shireen was murdered by a direct non-returning head shot performed by a professional sniper. He later presented a map of the location where Shireen was murdered, and explained that the distance between Shireen and occupation soldiers was an open distance without any protection. Elayyan further revealed that Al-Haq organization is preparing a photographed video using Forensic Engineering Technology. In details, the video will depict the manner of the assassination while Abu Akleh was covering the occupation force’s break-in Jenin camp, yet he affirmed that there is no evidence to open an investigation.


“Unfortunately, Palestine and the settlement are not in the priority of the government’s work this year, and there are releases that say that there are no resources to open an investigation. On the other hand, the war in Ukraine recorded war crimes since the first week of the war, which reflects the double international standards” Elayyan said.


Dima Tahboub, the former Member of Parliament, considered that Abu Akleh was martyred for “Palestine, not for the two states solution, she was martyred for Jerusalem not for the eastern or western Jerusalem.” Tahboub made an approximation between the murdering of her husband, and Abu Akleh’s as thought Baghdad may fall without witnesses, and Jenin alike.


Tahboub expressed her fear of the immunization of the occupation forces in the case of Shireen assassination, just like the immunization granted to the Americans in the case of assassination Ayoub, her late husband, “I am pessimistic because of my personal experience with my husband’s murder, but optimistic for Shireen.” Tahboub further added.


Tahboub later quoted the statement her daughter believed in since childhood “There is a round for falsehood, but many rounds for righthood.”


Journalist Jihad Abu Baydar, recalled the feats of Abu Akleh, who was a colleague of his in the Press and Media Department at Al-Yarmouk University. He expressed that she was calm, intelligent, and mysterious at the same time, and she had good friendships.


Abu Baydar clarified that journalists’ generation of Abu Akleh, was a golden generation that has left a mark in the march of journalism at advanced stages.

CDFJ also designed a mural titled “Coverage Continues” for the martyred Shireen Abu Akleh, and placed it on the hall entrance. Copies of the mural were sent to her family, and to Al Jazeera Network in Qatar.

At the end of the memorial service, CDFJ honored the speakers, Al Jazeera and Zain Company for supporting national issues with Shireen Abu Akleh shield.      

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