Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, Arab Hero

You can tell a lot about people from who they regard as heroes.

Here is an account of the death of the hero that the Qassam rocket and the "military wing" of Hamas is named after....

Notice his job in the "Young Men's Association of Haifa."

Among the British he was relatively unknown, just a gang leader. His gang managed to murder a single Jewish policeman before this final battle where a British constable was also killed.

But among the Arabs at the time, he turned very quickly into a martyr, as a large funeral procession accompanied him the next day:

Has anything changed since 1935? A murderer who claims to be a sheikh turns into a hero and martyr, the Arab world as a whole supports his terror group without question, his funeral becomes a political event, and there are reports that he tried to use the rules of war to his advantage.

Other points of interest: this nationalist hero was not born in Palestine but Syria. He first murdered during an uprising in 1921 and he ran away to Haifa. Arab newspapers and politicians closed ranks behind the murderer:

As his legend grew, his supporters tried hard to rewrite history instantly to ensure his hero status. And the gullible Arab world was more that ready to accept the lies.

The aim of the group becomes clear during the indictment of the surviving members - they wanted nothing less than to murder Jews.

Most members pleaded guilty for murder and were sentenced to hard labor, two were acquitted in November 1936.

Interestingly, as their fame spread throughout the Arab world, their reluctance to be known as people who shoot other Arabs disappeared. Here we see that the remnants of the gang in 1937 decided to go after any Arabs who they felt either cooperated with the British or who they just didn't like:

In fact, by that time they already killed their first "collaborator" a few weeks earlier:

The gang's illustrious career continued on as they joined the many Arabs who terrorized other Arabs:

Terror gang whose goal is to kill Jews and others? Check.
Heroes to the Palestinian Arabs? Check.
Heroes to Arabs in other countries? Check.
Dead members lionized as martyrs? Check.
Hiding behind respected local institutions? Check.
Hiding behind religious motives? Check.
No compunction in murdering other Arabs who aren't as extreme as they are? Check.
Greatly exaggerated stories of their exploits? Check.

No wonder these guys are heroes in the Arab world!