[Pnews] Prominent Palestinian activist Basil al-Araj killed in Israeli raid
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,
“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
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
four of them were subsequently arrested
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
The killing of al-Araj reverberated widely in Palestinian society, with
political parties calling for the end of Palestinian Authority “security
coordination” with Israel.
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
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
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
— 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
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) March 6, 2017
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