Monday 30 November 2020 
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Martyr Fathi Shaqaqi
at a glance

Ahmad Reza Ruhallahzad

Qodsna (Tehran) – On the occasion of the martyrdom of Fathi Shaqaqi, the former co-founder and Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, the Middle East affairs expert, Ahmad Reza Ruhallahzad wrote:

 

Fathi Shaqaqi was born on January 4, 1951, in a refugee family of eight children in the slum of Shubeira in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

His family was originally from Zarnuqa near Ramlah, where they had lived for generations and his grandfather had served as the Imam of the local mosque. The family of Fathi Shaqaqi fled Zarnuqa during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War in fear of Israeli massacres and were not permitted to return. Therefore, the childhood of Fathi Shaqaqi was intertwined with the pain of occupation and displacement.

 

He spent his teenage years in Gaza and admired former president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser just like many other young Palestinians. However, the defeat of Egypt in its war with the Zionist regime in 1967 destroyed all of his dreams and forced him to think about a better approach towards the occupation of Palestine.

 

Most of his early education was at the local United Nations school. He attended Bir Zeit University on the West Bank in 1968, where he studied physics and mathematics. At the same time, he got familiar with different Palestinian groups that mostly had a leftist approach.

 

In 1974 he moved to Egypt to study medicine at Mansoura University, specializing in pediatrics. Upon receiving his medical degree in 1981, he worked in general practice at Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem. He later opened a medical clinic in Gaza.

 

Shaqaqi came to believe that the PLO opposition to Israeli occupation was worthless and that only an Islamist movement could achieve any political or military success against Israel. He founded the Islamic Jihad Movement with the cooperation of other Palestinian figures like Ramadan Shalah and Abd Al Aziz Awda and became the first Secretary-General of the movement.

 

Shortly after the Iranian Revolution, Shaqaqi wrote a book, "Khomeini, The Islamic Solution and the Alternative" in 1979, which praised Ayatollah Khomeini and his approach to an Islamic state. In Shaqaqi's view the Khomeini victory "demonstrated that even against an enemy as powerful as the Shah, a jihad of determined militants could overcome all obstacles." The book sold 10,000 copies in two days. It was banned by the Egyptian government and Shaqaqi was arrested.

 

The aim of the Islamic Jihad Movement was the establishment of a sovereign, Islamic Palestinian state within the geographic borders of pre-1948 Mandatory Palestine. Completely rejecting the political process, the organization professes that its goals can only be achieved through military means.

 

Shaqaqi was arrested in Gaza by Israel in 1983 for publishing the magazine "Islamic Vanguard", but released the following year. He was rearrested in 1986 and sentenced to four years in prison. In 1988 he was deported to Southern Lebanon, allegedly at the orders of Yitzhak Rabin. Shortly after his expulsion to Lebanon in 1988, Shaqaqi met Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran, who pledged support for his organization. While in Lebanon, the PIJ established a close relationship with the Shia Islamist group Hezbollah and received training from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. In 1990 he settled in Damascus under the protection of President of Syria Hafez al-Assad.

 

Shaqaqi was gunned down on October 26, 1995, in front of the Diplomat Hotel in Sliema, Malta by a hit team composed of two Mossad agents from a Bayonet unit that had previously killed Gerald Bull and Atef Bseiso. He was on his way back from Tripoli after visiting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who promised to help finance Shaqaqi’s factions.

 

By reading the history of Palestinian resistance as well as Palestinian factions and movements, it is clear that Fathi Shaqaqi had a significant role in bringing Islamic thought into Palestinian fights. The new approach expanded the fights with the Zionist enemy to the whole Palestinian people. This matter brought important achievements to the Palestinian nation.




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The current Palestinian resistance is certainly the result of the culture of resistance that was initiated by Fathi Shaqaqi. If the current resistance defeats the Zionist regime in the Gaza Strip and prevents further occupation, that is the reason for the faith that Fathi Shaqaqi created in the hearts of Palestinians.

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