The Zionist state of Israel has been unable to present its people with any victory on the battlefield that they can celebrate with their flags and be proud of their supposedly invincible army. There is no military credibility in killing innocent civilians, mainly children and women. The so-called Israel Defence Forces have been defeated in a way that they could never have expected, even in their worst nightmares. The heavy losses among the occupation army’s officer and other ranks; and the destruction of vehicles, including the famed Merkava tanks which Israel promoted as the best in the world for protecting soldiers, have been admitted by senior officers. The world has seen how the crews burned inside these tanks, which are now junk for children to play on.
Hence, true to cowardly form, the Israeli enemy state has taken out its anger and hatred against the defenceless people of Gaza, killing 23,000 Palestinians, mostly children, women and the elderly, with another 8,000 missing, presumed dead, under the rubble of the homes. Such crimes have not been committed by a professional army that claims to know the art of war, but by reservists acting as militias and criminal gangs while masquerading as soldiers. This is the occupation army that claims to be the strongest in the region (and the “most moral” in the world!). It may have the weapons and ammunition, but it is only stronger in terms of its criminality and depravity.
Nevertheless, killing women and children in Gaza is not enough for Israel and its people, who were expecting a crushing defeat of the (legitimate) resistance and the complete elimination of Hamas, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised them. So they had to find a valuable prey that would satisfy their bloodlust and make them feel victorious, even for a moment. Such prey couldn’t be caught in Gaza: they have been unable to find Abu Obaida, the spokesman for Al-Qassam Brigades; or the military commander of the armed wing of Hamas, Mohammad Al-Deif; or even the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Al-Sinwar. God willing, they will never find them.
With the occupation army exposed to the whole world as a murderous entity, the apartheid state turned northwards and assassinated the deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas and the movement’s leader in the West Bank, Saleh Al-Arouri. He was targeted by an Israeli drone in his office in the southern suburb of Beirut, the stronghold of Hezbollah, meaning that the martyr was hosted by the Lebanese movement and under its protection.His location was no secret, so I hold Hezbollah fully responsible if it does not respond forcefully and quickly to the assassination of Al-Arouri and in a manner appropriate to his status, otherwise I would say that it is colluding with the Zionist enemy. This is especially the case because the last two speeches by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah threatened a response on the battlefield. We await this response and hope that it will not be a long wait, as his previous threats have tended to die down over the days, months and years.
The assassination of Saleh Al-Arouri was not the first of its kind, and of course it will not be the last.
For half a century, the cowardly Israelis have assassinated dozens of key figures from various movements and organisations, without damaging them seriously, or destroying the resistance. Others have simply stepped up to the plate and taken their place in the struggle for freedom.
In March 2004, for example, the Israelis killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and leader of Hamas. They targeted him and those with him, firing missiles from an Apache helicopter as he was leaving the local mosque in his wheelchair after the dawn prayer. Three weeks later, two missiles were fired at the car of Abdul Aziz Al-Rantisi, another of the founders of Hamas and the leader of the movement in Gaza. They then murdered the genius engineer Yahya Ayyash, the man behind technological developments in missiles and weapons manufacturing.
However, these assassinations did not affect the resistance and did not bring Hamas to an end. In fact, the exact opposite happened. After it had been merely a resistance group throwing with stones at the occupiers during the time of Sheikh Yassin, it became a resistance movement armed with locally-made guns, missiles, mortars and shells.
Saleh Al-Arouri was born in Aroura near Ramallah. He studied Islamic law and joined Hamas when it was founded in 1987. He wished for martyrdom and said in one of his interviews, “The leaders are no better than any Palestinian resistance fighter,” noting that after his repeated arrests and being placed on assassination lists, he couldn’t believe that he was still alive.
Al-Arouri’s dedication to supporting the Palestinian cause was not only limited to the political field; his influence also extended to enhancing public awareness about the issues of the occupation and human rights. He participated in many international forums to convey the message of the Palestinian people and reveal the truth of their suffering.
Now he has become a symbol of sacrifice and steadfastness in the face of difficult circumstances, and his great contributions will remain forever in the annals of the Palestinian struggle for justice. His sacrifice has helped to strengthen national unity among the Palestinian factions, something that he always sought to achieve in the face of common challenges. He played a prominent role in strengthening the national spirit and encouraging young people to participate effectively in the struggle for the Palestinian cause. Al-Arouri’s assassination will not end the inspiring impact of his struggle. That is why it cannot be claimed as a victory by Zionist Israel, but has instead confirmed its ultimate defeat.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.