Rabid dog Israeli regime warplanes, 14 years ago, fired missiles and martyred Palestinian leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi, in Gaza but could not wipe out the legacy of his speeches and principled historic positions on resistance, which he had drawn throughout his long history of struggle.
Martyr Rantissi left us early, leaving behind deep sadness and lessons in resistance and the discourse that should be used to address the occupier, equally important to the weapon he was waving while giving his passionate speeches that big masses were always eager to listen to.
On Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, social media outlets, especially Facebook, were filled with images of Rantissi and his words, which are still echoed by his contemporaries and even by the younger generation.
Commenting on the anniversary, student Aya Barakat from Birzeit University says: “The anniversary of the martyrdom of the leader Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi has a special symbolism; It strengthens our hope and sharpens our will, especially his speeches, which he followed by deeds, unlike other leaders.”
Student Mahmoud Mustafa from the university’s Economics College, said Rantissi was not a normal leader. He was inspirational. He showed us how death in the cause of God is the highest and most precious wish, and how the leaders of Hamas sacrifice their lives for the sake of God, even before fighters, thus being an example of sacrifice to follow.”
Nasser Abu Rub from Jenin recalls the words of Rantissi, “We all are going to die, either by cancer, Apache, or anything else, but I prefer it to be by Apache.”
He continued: “These words, although limited, drew the meaning of living in dignity and rejection of humiliation; death is a truth that will eventually befall all people, and let it be with honor; that what Rantissi was saying.”
Activist Khalil Salam wrote on his Facebook page: “I listened to the most famous speeches of the martyr Rantissi. It was the peak of sharpening spirits and raising morale. He was like a man from Paradise addressing the soldiers of God on Earth.”
He added: “Sacrifices are cumulative; his speeches and his school of thought yielded many good fruits, resulting in the liberation of Gaza and the expulsion of the occupying forces out of it, and the West Bank will be next, as Hamas leader and the father of two martyrs Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said.”
Despite the elapse of 14 years since his assassination, his photographs are still hung on the walls of some mosques in the West Bank, despite persecution, as well as in the streets and universities, and they are still being shared on social media outlets.
Rantissi was arrested in 1983 for refusing to pay taxes to the Israeli occupation authorities and was again arrested on 5 January, 1988 for 21 days.
He was arrested for the third time on 4 February, 1988, where he was held in Israeli jails for two and a half years for participating in ‘hostile activities’. He was released on 4 September, 1990 and was arrested again on 14 December, 1990 where he was placed under administrative detention for one year.
Rantissi founded the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, along with a group of activists, in 1987.
On 17 December, 1992, 400 activists and members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements were deported to southern Lebanon. Rantissi was the official spokesman for the deportees who stayed at the return camp in the Marj al-Zuhour area, forcing the occupation to allow them to return.
He was arrested by the Israeli authorities upon his return from Marj al-Zuhour. An Israeli military court sentenced him to prison, where he was held until mid-1997.
He survived an assassination attempt in June, 2003, when an Israeli warplane fired a missile at his car in the Gaza Strip, wounding him.
On March 4, 2004, he was chosen as the leader of the Hamas movement in Palestine, serving as a successor to Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. On Saturday night, 17 April, 2004, at 8:30 PM, he was assassinated by Israeli regime warplanes, after an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at his car in the Gaza Strip.