[Pnews] Prominent Palestinian activist Basil al-Araj killed in Israeli raid

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 7 10:59:57 EST 2017


  Prominent Palestinian activist killed in Israeli raid

Maureen Clare Murphy 
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/maureen-clare-murphy> - 6 March 2017

Israeli forces killed a prominent Palestinian activist during a raid on 
a home in the town of al-Bireh, near the city of Ramallah, the seat of 
the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, on Monday.

“The martyr Basil al-Araj was a freedom fighter, intellectual and 
theorist of the uprising of Palestinian youth. He was dedicated to a 
path of resistance, intifada, unity, return and liberation of the entire 
land of Palestine,” the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 
following the slaying.

Israeli police claimed that “once Israeli forces arrived at the place, 
the Palestinian terrorist opened fire at Israeli forces, causing an 
exchange of fire between Israeli forces and [the] Palestinian terrorist, 
leading to his death.”

No Israeli soldiers were injured. Two Palestinians were wounded 
<https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775810> during confrontations 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hXeGEVxA9s> with Israeli forces 
following the raid.

An Israeli police spokesperson called al-Araj 
<https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775810> the leader of a cell 
“planning terror attacks against Israelis.” The Israeli army said 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.775467> that two M-16 
guns and an improvised Carlo rifle were found in the home.

Israeli police released footage 
<https://twitter.com/IL_police/status/838788165741789185> of the raid 
showing soldiers opening fire while searching the home. The video does 
not show al-Araj.

Mustafa Barghouti, a medical doctor and leader of the Palestinian 
National Initiative party, cast doubt on Israel’s claims of a firefight, 
telling media 
“If al-Araj had any chance to shoot, he would not have been able to 
shoot more than one bullet. The house was completely bombarded with 
Israeli bullets.”

A journalist with the al-Ghad television network found no evidence that 
al-Araj had fired at the soldiers, only evidence that the Israeli forces 
had opened fire on al-Araj. Al-Ghad’s video of the apartment in which 
al-Araj was killed shows that the walls and ceiling were sprayed with 
bullets and al-Araj’s belongings ransacked:

Witnesses told media <https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775810> 
that they saw al-Araj being dragged from the home. His body is being 
held by Israel.

    “Full military control”

Al-Araj was killed in a zone of the West Bank supposedly under 
Palestinian Authority control.

“Usually the Israeli army claim that they inform [the Palestinian 
Authority] before entering the area, but they came into the center of 
Ramallah, which shows that they have full military control there,” 
Barghouti told Al Jazeera.

The slaying of al-Araj was “nothing but an act of extrajudicial killing 
and assassination,” Barghouti added.

Israeli forces had been attempting to apprehend al-Araj after his 
by the Palestinian Authority, who had held him for five months without 
charge or trial, in September last year. Al-Araj was said to be held in 
isolation in a cell measuring 1 meter by 1.5 meters.

He and five other Palestinians were freed by the PA after going on 
hunger strike 
four of them were subsequently arrested 
by Israel.

The home of al-Araj’s parents in the village of al-Walaja 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/al-walaja-0>, near the West Bank 
city of Bethlehem, was repeatedly raided by Israeli forces during the 
past week, Palestinian media reported 

Samidoun, a Palestinian prisoners support network, has reported ongoing 
raids on al-Araj’s family home, with his relatives being summoned for 
by Israeli authorities in order to put pressure on al-Araj to turn 
himself in.

The killing of al-Araj reverberated widely in Palestinian society, with 
political parties calling for the end of Palestinian Authority “security 
coordination” with Israel.

    “Security coordination”

Israel frequently arrests Palestinian activists after their release from 
Palestinian Authority detention. The PA also passes information 
it obtains on Palestinian activists to Israeli interrogators who 
routinely use torture.

Just two weeks after al-Araj’s arrest in April last year 
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas boasted 
to the German publication /Der Spiegel/ that “Our security forces are 
working very efficiently to prevent terror. Just a couple of days ago, 
three young men were tracked down and arrested. They were planning an 
attack. In this context, our security cooperation with Israel is 
functioning well.”

Samidoun’s international coordinator Charlotte Kates told The Electronic 
at the time that it was most likely that Abbas was referring to al-Araj 
and the two other left-wing activists who were arrested with him.

The Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer stated 
that al-Araj and four others held with him by the Palestinian Authority 
were beaten and subjected to stress positions and sleep deprivation, as 
well as other forms of ill-treatment.

Basil al-Araj “was a revolutionary intellectual who put all of his 
cultural and intellectual energies in the service of the resistance 
together with his own actions on the ground, confronting security 
coordination and collaboration,” the Popular Front for the Liberation of 
Palestine added in its statement on Monday.

Al-Araj was a trained pharmacist and had been active in multiple popular 
movements in Palestine, as well as a supporter of boycott, divestment 
and sanctions against Israel. He was part of the 2012 protest 
<http://www.maannews.net/Content.aspx?id=895749> against a visit by 
Israel’s minister of defense to Ramallah in 2012, which was violently 
repressed by Palestinian Authority security forces.

Al-Araj wrote articles and gave educational tours 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CcG3vrKgUQ&t=9s> on the Zionist 
colonization of Palestine and the resistance 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfA8SNZq3i0> against it.

Palestinians protested in multiple cities 
<https://twitter.com/48nnews/status/838847268069466112> and refugee 
camps <https://twitter.com/qudsn/status/838841730946457602> – including 
in Lebanon <https://twitter.com/qudsn/status/838825481612980224> – on 
Monday night.

In the town of al-Bireh, where al-Araj was killed, protesters called for 
an end to Palestinian Authority security coordination with Israel:

    شبان يهتفون ضد التنسيق الأمني بعد اغتيال قوات الاحتلال لباسل الأعرج
    في مدينة البيرة فجر اليوم، بعد شهور من المطاردة.#الثائر_باسل
    pic.twitter.com/LTxF50nVIU <https://t.co/LTxF50nVIU>

    — شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) March 6, 2017

In the city of Ramallah, one town over from al-Bireh, protesters chanted 
against Palestinian security forces:

    "يا ضميري وينك".. شبان يهتفون ضد اللواء عدنان الضميري خلال مسيرة في
    مدينة رام الله، قبل قليل.#الثائر_باسل
    pic.twitter.com/OYycsv4kOK <https://t.co/OYycsv4kOK>

    — شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) March 6, 2017

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