#Israel 11th assassination anniversary: Who is #SheikhAhmedYassin?

11th assassination anniversary of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin ~ World Bulletin / News Desk, Sunday, 22 March 2015.

Hamas organized several activities to mark the occasion, most prominently was the launch of the movement’s official website from inside the residence of the late Hamas leader in Gaza City.

Palestinian resistance faction Hamas on Sunday marked the 11th anniversary of the Israeli assassination of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Hamas organized several activities to mark the occasion, most prominently was the launch of the movement’s official website from inside the residence of the late Hamas leader in Gaza City.

“Our movement remains committed to the ideas of its founder, which preached openness towards the Arab and Islamic spheres,” leading Hamas member Ismail Haniyeh said at a speech marking the occasion.

Sheikh Yassin and a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the Gaza Strip formed Hamas in 1987 during the first Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against the Israeli occupation.

The movement’s influence spread in the West Bank and Gaza due to its strong involvement in resisting the Israeli occupation.

The Hamas founder was arrested by Israel in 1983 on charges of weapons possession, founding a secret militia and calling for the elimination of the state of Israel, and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Sheikh Yassin was released two years later in prisoner exchange deal between Israel and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

He was arrested again in 1989 and condemned to life in prison and an additional 15-year prison sentence for inciting the capture and killing of Israeli soldiers and founding Hamas.

In 1997, the Hamas leader was once again released in another prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Jordan, after the failed assassination attempt of Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal in Jordanian capital Amman.

Sheikh Yassin, who had been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 12, was killed on March 22, 2004, when an Israeli aircraft struck his car while returning from a Gaza City mosque after the dawn prayers.

Even after 11 years have lapsed since his passing, Sheikh Yassin’s family has kept his belongings in place and transformed his residence into a museum after moving to live in an nearby house.

Dozens of Palestinian, Arab and Islamic delegations have visited Sheikh Yassin’s residence over the past years, including Meshaal who visited the Gaza Strip in late 2012.

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Sheikh Ahmed Yassin: The man and the struggle (report) ~ 

On March 22nd, 2004, two Israeli warplanes targeted and attacked with several missiles a totally paralyzed elderly man pushed on a wheelchair. Minutes later, all Palestine and all Arab and Muslim countries erupted in protest and anger.

Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, 68, did not resist the occupation carrying guns or even stones. He was a man with a vision and a mission. He was the mastermind of the new Palestinian generation that swore to be free. And for that, Israel sought to imprison him and kill him.

The death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin took his body away from his followers and supporters. But his mind and his ideas will live forever in their hearts and minds.

Ahmad Yassin, founder of Hamas Movement, has had a distinctive political and spiritual place in the hearts of the Palestinian resistance, which made him one of the notable figures of the Palestinian national struggle of the past century.

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Early life

Ahmad Ismail Yassin was born in a historic village of ancient Ashkelon known as Al-Jorah in June, 1936. In that same year, the first armed revolution against the increasing Zionist influence in the Palestinian territories was launched. His father died when he was five.

Ahmed Yassin witnessed the Arab defeat, also known as Nakba, in 1948 when he was 12 years old. Talking about that time, Yassin said, “The Arab armies that came to fight Israel unarmed us with the pretext that no force would be present other than the armies’. Consequently, our fate was attached to theirs, and we were defeated by their defeat. The Zionist gangs then started waging massacres and pogroms terrorizing the defenseless Palestinians. Had our arms been in our hands, the course of events would have been different.”

Tough life

Yassin enrolled to Al-Jourah Primary School for the first five grades. Nonetheless, the Nakba that befell Palestine and displaced its people forced him along with hundreds of thousands to evacuate. His family ended up in Gaza. In Gaza, everything was different and the family suffered poverty, starvation, and deprivation, like most of the displaced families then.

Ahmed Yassin used to go to the Egyptian military camps with his counterparts to collect the leftovers of the soldiers’ food to feed their families. He quit school for a year, 1949-1950, to help his seven-member family’s livelihood by working in a small fast food restaurant in Gaza. He went back to school later on.

Injury

When he was 16 years old, Yassin had an accident that changed his entire life. He had a fractured neck vertebra while he was playing with his counterparts in 1952. After forty-five days with a gypsum-splinted neck, he learned that he would spend the rest of his life paralyzed.

Ahmed_Yassin

Furthermore, he suffered from many diseases, including loss of vision in the right eye due to brutal Israeli investigation while he was in jail. He also suffered from a severe weakness in the left eye, a chronic inflammation of the ear, lungs diseases, and other gastrointestinal infections.

Political activity

Yassin finished high school in 1957/58 and managed to get a job despite the initial refusal due to his health condition. And most of his teaching income was spent helping his poor family.

When he was 20, he took part in the demonstrations that broke out in Gaza to protest the tripartite aggression on Egypt in 1956. He showed rhetorical and organizational capacities as he actively joined his counterparts in refusing the international supervision over Gaza and insisting on the importance of the return of the Egyptian administration.

His oratorical skills began to develop distinctively and his name started to resonate among the scholars of Gaza. This invoked the Egyptian intelligence to arrest him in 1965 as part of its crack on Muslim Brotherhood. He remained in solitary confinement for around a month since he had no connection to the Brotherhood.

His time in jail affected him as he described its impacts on him saying, “[My time in jail] deepened my hatred for oppression and emphasized that the legacy of any authority depends on its justice, and belief in the human right of living free.”

The Israeli occupation

Yassin’s activism disturbed the Israeli occupation, so he was arrested in 1982 and charged with forming a military organization and possession of weapons. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but he was released in 1985 in a prisoners swap deal between the occupation authorities and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Founding Hamas Movement

In 1987, Yassin agreed with a number of Islamic leaders, who adopted the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, to establish an Islamic organization to resist the occupation until the liberation of Palestine. They agreed to name it “The Islamic Resistance Movement”, more commonly known by its acronym “Hamas”.

He played a major role in the first Palestinian Intifada. Since then, he has been considered the spiritual leader of the Movement.

As the resistance escalated, the occupation started thinking of a way to terminate Yassin’s activities. In 1988, the occupation stormed and searched his house and threatened to exile him to Lebanon. As the resistance attack against Israeli occupation forces and its collaborators increased, the Israeli authorities arrested Sheikh Yassin along with hundreds of Hamas figures on May 18th, 1989.

On October 16th, 1991, a military court issued a life-imprisonment and a 15-year sentence against him. In the indictment, he was charged with incitement to kidnap and kill Israeli soldiers and of establishing Hamas and its military and security apparatuses.

Attempts to set him free

A group of Al-Qassam Brigades tried to set Shaikh Ahmed Yassin and other elderly prisoners free. Therefore, Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier near Jerusalem on December 13th, 1992. Al-Qassam offered Israel to swap the soldier with these prisoners, but Israel refused the offer and attacked the place where the soldier was kept killing him, the commander of the Israeli commando unit, and all members of the resistance group.

In another swap deal, on October 1st, 1997, between Jordan and Israel in the wake of a failed assassination attempt of Khalid Mishaal, Head of Hamas Political Bureau in Amman, Yassin was set free.

House arrest

As Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, controlled by Fatah the mainstream faction of the PLO, carry contradictory strategies, the PA often tends to put pressure on Hamas. As one of those pressures, the PA imposed house arrest on Sheikh Yassin more than once.

Martyrdom

On September 6th, 2003, Yassin survived an Israeli assassination attempt as an Israeli helicopter targeted a flat where Ahmad Yassin and Ismail Haniyeh were meeting with off Hamas members. Yassin was slightly wounded in his right arm.

At the break of dawn on Monday, March 22nd, 2004, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was brutally murdered by Israeli Apaches. The helicopters launched three rockets on his wheelchair while he was leaving Al-Mujamma Al-Islami Mosque in Al-Sabra neighborhood, Gaza. Seven of his attendants were also killed and two of his sons were injured in this attack that was commanded by Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel then.

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The struggle goes on
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was one of those few and rare individuals who gave everything to Palestine. His path was clear as crystal: Palestine comes first. Sheikh Yassin always taught Palestinians that the killing of leaders should never stop the struggle but ignite it. And nowadays, we have hundreds of thousands in Palestine following the steps of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

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