Ahmed Jabari

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Ahmed Jabari
Native name أحمد الجعبري
Born 1960
Gaza City, Gaza Strip
Died 14 November 2012 (aged 51–52)
Gaza City
Cause of death
Airstrike by Israeli Air Force
Resting place
Sheikh Radwan cemetery
Nationality Palestinian
Alma mater Islamic University of Gaza
Known for 2006 Hamas cross-border raid
Religion Islam
Military career
Allegiance  Palestine (Hamas)
Service/branch Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Battles/wars Second Intifada

Ahmed al-Jabari (Arabic: أحمد الجعبري‎; 1960 – 14 November 2012; also known as Abu Mohammad)[1][2] (the last name is otherwise also written as Jaabari or Ja'bari or Ja'abari) was a Palestinian militant and the second-in-command of the military wing of Hamas. He was credited as the leader in the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip,[3] and played a role in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.[3] Under his command, Hamas developed its own growing weapons capability and acquired longer-range rockets.[4]

While at the Islamic University of Gaza, Jabari joined Fatah, which advocated armed struggle against Israel. In 1982, he was arrested by the Israeli authorities and imprisoned for 13 years. After being released he joined Fatah's Islamist rival Hamas' militant wing and was believed to have been involved in the bombing of a bus in Kfar Darom, following which he was arrested by the Preventive Security Force of the Palestinian Authority in 1998, being released the following year. In 2002, Jabari became the acting operational head of Hamas' militant wing when Mohammad Deif was seriously wounded in an Israeli attack.[5] In this position Jabari was also a high-ranking official within Hamas' political leadership, as well as the founder of the Nur Association, which aimed to help "martyrs and prisoners."[6]

The Israeli Air Force and Shin Bet conducted a targeted air strike on 14 November 2012, a part of Operation Pillar of Defense, killing Jabari while he was travelling in a car.[7][8] The decision to liquidate him, according to Haaretz analyst, Reuven Pedatzur, arose from a decision by Israeli decision-makers to attack Hamas rather than seek a ceasefire.[9] Jabari was the highest-level Hamas official killed in Gaza since the Gaza War.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Jabari was born to a respected activist family based in the Shuja'iyya district of Gaza City in 1960,[1][11] that was forced to leave Hebron due to a family blood feud.[12] He graduated from Gaza's Islamic University with a degree in history.[11] In 1982, Jabari was arrested and imprisoned by Israeli authorities when he was a member of the secular Palestinian militant organization Fatah. According to Al Arabiya, while serving 13 years in prison, he left Fatah and joined Hamas after meeting with some of the latter's founders who were also incarcerated at the time, namely Abd al-Aziz Rantissi, Nizar Rayyan and Salah Shehadeh.[6]

Hamas[edit]

After his release, in 1995 Jabari began to act as a middle-level activist in the military wing of the Hamas.[13][14] In addition, he dealt with the movement's charitable organizations and was responsible for coordinating between the collection of money and military activities.[13] In the middle of the 1990s, Jabari involved directly in planning of the suicide missions against Israeli citizens.[13] Then, due to his involvement with these military activities in the Gaza Strip, Jabari was arrested by the Preventive Security Force of the Palestinian Authority in October 1998 for his alleged role in the Kfar Darom bus attack.[12] He was released in late 1999.[14] After his release he became an assistant of Salah Shehadeh and Mohamed Aldahef, the commanders of the military wing, in charge with improvement of military actions.[14] Thus, he was part of Hamas's senior leadership during the first intifada and of the first Intifada cell.[15]

On 26 September 2002, after an Israeli airstrike wounded Mohammed Deif, the leader of Hamas's principal armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Jabari became the commander and operational head of the military wing at the height of the Second Intifada (the armed Palestinian uprising against Israel from 2000–2007).[3][16] However, Deif remains its official head. According to Hamas political leader Ayman Taha, since Jabari took over the al-Qassam Brigades' day-to-day operations, Hamas's armed wing became increasingly professional. During the course of the Intifada, he directed several attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings, that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers.[17][18]

On 17 August 2004, Jabari's eldest son Mohammed, his brother and three of his cousins were killed in an Israeli air strike against Jabari's home in Gaza in an apparent assassination attempt against him.[6][14] He escaped the attack unhurt.[14] He stated in a 2005 interview with Reuters that "Jihad and resistance" were the "only ways to liberate the homeland, and not negotiation and bargains."[19]

Jabari was in charge of overseeing the imprisonment of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped by Palestinian militants in 2006 outside of the Gaza Strip; two other soldiers were killed.[20] According to the Israeli government, Jabari played a leading role in Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in June 2007.[3][6][8][21]

During Israel's offensive Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip in December 2008, Jabari's home was allegedly destroyed in an airstrike, but the circumstances surrounding the incident were unclear.[22] After long years of military activities in Hamas, Jabari became one of the influential leaders within the organization.[14] In September 2010, Jabari threatened to increase attacks against Israel to derail the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations: "With the power of faith, weapons and missiles, tunnels and commandos we will achieve victory for Palestine and we'll end the occupation in Gaza too."[23]

When a prisoners-exchange was arranged handing back Shalit to Israel in return for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in October 2011, Jabari personally escorted Shalit to the Rafah Crossing with Egypt, making a rare public appearance.[8] Abu Hudaifa, a close confidante, noted that Jabari "followed the mission until the end in minute detail by himself."[6] In an interview with Al Hayat newspaper, Jabari confirmed that most of the 477 prisoners released in the first part of the prisoner exchange were collectively responsible for the deaths of 569 Israelis.[24][25] In April 2012, Jabari was elected to the political bureau of Hamas.[26]

Jabari was also instrumental in enforcing ceasefires from the Palestinian side, which included restricting rival militant groups from firing rockets.[27][28] In addition to his activities given above, Jabari served as a member of the group's political leadership.[11] He also founded Nur, which is an association to assist 'martyrs and prisoners.'[11]

According to Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate with Hamas for Gilad Shalit's release but did not speak to Jabari directly, Jabari had come to understand that continuing hostilities with Israel harmed both Hamas and the people of the Gaza Strip, and had worked to prevent on several occasions Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. When such Hamas rocket attacks took place, they were intentionally aimed to land in open spaces. Baskin also said that Jabari "was in line to die, not an angel and not a righteous man of peace."[29] Baskin also claimed that Jabari received a draft of a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel only hours prior to his assassination.[30]

Elhanan Miller, in The Times of Israel writes, "Baskin, who says he played a key role in negotiating for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit last year, said Jabari would not meet with him, despite several requests during the Shalit talks 'Jabari would never have direct contact with an Israeli', noting that he communicated with Jabari through Hamas official and spokesman Ghazi Hamad."[31] Benjamin Kerstein wrote in The Times of Israel that Baskin's claims were in all likelihood not true, mainly because Israel would not involve someone like Baskin in important peace talks.[32]

Death and funeral[edit]

Jabari was cautious with his personal safety, rarely making public appearances[6][11] and not carrying a cellphone.[33] These steps were taken to avoid any assassination attempt since he escaped five such attacks unhurt.[14]

However, on 14 November 2012, he was killed by an Israeli military drone strike while driving along Omar Mukhtar Street in Gaza City. He was 52 years old. His bodyguard, Mohammed Al Hams, who was traveling with him, was also killed.[8] The assassination of Ahmed Jabari was precipitated by three days of rocket fire from Gaza terrorist cells on the the Southern Israeli civilian population.[34] These rocket attacks were the trigger for the assasination of Ahmed Jabari which marked the official beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.[35] The assassination, which was a joint operation by the Shin Bet and the IAF, led to a continuation of indiscriminate Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel that had been ongoing for days before the beginning of the operation and subsequent Israeli counter strikes against targets in Gaza over a four-day period called Operation Pillar of Defense.[7][36][37][38][39]

Jabari was buried on 15 November 2012.[40] According to Al Jazeera English correspondent Rula Amin, Jabari was "considered a hero" by the people of Gaza.[36] Thousands of mourners attended his funeral procession which began at the Shifa Hospital,[41] passed his home, then reached the Great Mosque of Gaza for mourning prayers. The procession ended at the Sheikh Radwan cemetery in the northern part of the city where Jabari was buried.[42]

Reactions[edit]

Hamas' Lebanon representative Osama Hamdan said that it was likely Israel was targeting the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The Brigades asserted that the Israeli "occupation has opened the doors of hell." Other militant factions, such as the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) also denounced the killing of Jabari and vowed retaliation.[8][43] The PIJ said it would "respond fiercely" to Jabari's death, calling it an "act of war."[43] Member of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, condemned the "Israeli crime and assassination of Jabari." Angry protests erupted around the Shifa Hospital, where Jabari was taken, following news of his death, with members of Hamas demanding retaliation.[36][37]

Egypt recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest of the attacks on the Gaza Strip and the killing of Jabari.[44] According to a foreign ministry statement, Foreign Minister Kamel Amr "condemned the series of air strikes that Israel is currently conducting against Gaza Strip and which led to the killing of Ahmed al-Jabari."[37] Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani stated: "I condemn [the killing] in the name of Qatar. [...] This filthy crime must not pass without a punishment." He also called on the UN Security Council to "preserve the peace and security in the world."[45] Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah issued condolences to Hamas stating that Jabari was a "martyr" who "had a great history in the resistance."[46] During consultations about the Israeli airstrikes, U.S. President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi agreed to work together to de-escalate the situation before it escalates.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Jabari had two wives and six children.[6][14] Jabari's eldest son, Mohammed, died during a 2004 Israeli airstrike.[47] Mohamed was married to Salah Shehade's daughter.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Obituary: Ahmad al-Jaabari (1960–2012)". Ma'an. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Bartal, Shaul (18 November 2012). "Hamas and the 'Islamic Winter'". Maariv. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Hamas Terrorist Ahmed Jabari". Consulate General of Israel in New York. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Arms With a Long Reach Help Hamas". The New York Times. 17 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Chabin, Michele (14 November 2012). "Israelis brace for attacks after Hamas leader killed". USA Today (Jerusalem). Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Shalit swap brings shadowy Hamas man to the fore". Al-Arabiya. Agence France-Presse. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Levy, Elior (14 November 2012). "IDF kills top Hamas commander". Ynet News. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Isabel Kershner; Fares Akram (15 November 2012). "Israeli Assault Into Gaza Kills A Hamas Leader". The New York Times. p. A1. 
  9. ^ 'Why did Israel kill Jabari?,' Haaretz 4 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Israel Intensifies Gaza Air Strikes". Voice of America. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Ahmed Jaabari: elusive Hamas military chief". The Jordan Times. Agence France-Presse. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Winer, Stuart (14 November 2012). "Ahmed Jabari: The ruthless terror chief whose bloody end was only a matter of time". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Khoury, Jack (14 November 2012). "Who was Ahmed Jabari?". Haaretz. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Maestro of Difficult Missions". The Majalla 1530: 40–41. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Jeroen Gunning (1 April 2010). Hamas in Politics: Democracy, Religion, Violence. Columbia University Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-231-70045-0. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  16. ^ Ginsburgh, Mitch (14 November 2012). "Ahmed Jabari: The ruthless terror chief whose bloody end was only a matter of time". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "How Israel killed Ahmed Jabari, its toughest enemy in Gaza". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Siryoti, Daniel (15 November 2012). "Ahmed Jabari funeral draws large crowds, but no Hamas leaders". Israel HaYom. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Slain Hamas boss, scourge of Israel, was dead man walking". Yahoo News. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari killed by Israeli strike". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  21. ^ Issacharoff, Avi (2 July 2007). "Hamas fires Qassams for first time since Gaza takeover". Haaretz. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  22. ^ "Israel is 'nearing Gaza goals'". BBC News. 11 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  23. ^ Rockets, mortars fired at southern Israel. United Press International. 15 September 2010.
  24. ^ "Profile of a terrorist: Ahmed Jabari". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  25. ^ Issacharoff, Avi (20 October 2011). "Shalit's captors: He wasn't tortured, he received medical care and watched TV". Haaretz. 
  26. ^ "Elections for Hamas' Leading Institutions in the Gaza Strip – Results and Significance". The Meir Amid Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  27. ^ Baskin, Gershon (16 November 2012). "Israel’s Shortsighted Assassination". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  28. ^ Murphy, Dan (14 November 2012). "Is Hamas responsible for Gaza rocket fire? Not exactly". The Christian Monitor. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  29. ^ Nir Hasson, Israeli peace activist: Hamas leader Jabari killed amid talks on long-term truce, Haaretz, 15 November 2012.
  30. ^ "Gaza: Assassinated Hamas Leader Ahmed Jabari ‘Was Canvassing’ Truce Agreement with Israel". International Business Times. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  31. ^ Elhanan Miller, 'Israeli involved in talks with Hamas says Jabari supported long-term ceasefire,' The Times of Israel, 15 November 2012
  32. ^ Kerstein, Benjamin (19 November 2012). "Jabari a peacemaker? Baskin’s tall tales and media gullibility". The Times of Israel. 
  33. ^ Starr, Stephen (16 November 2012). "Drones in the sky, informers on the ground helped Israel track Hamas military chief". National Post. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  34. ^ And AP, Times of Israel Staff. "Rockets hit homes in south as fire continues for second day.". Times of Israel. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  35. ^ "Q&A: Israel-Gaza violence". BBC News. 2012-11-20. 
  36. ^ a b c "Hamas military chief killed in Israeli attack". Al Jazeera English. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  37. ^ a b c "Israeli air strike kills Hamas military chief Jabari". BBC. November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  38. ^ "Israeli air strike kills top Hamas commander Jabari". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  39. ^ Levy, Elior (18 November 2012). "Jabari widow: He was a good husband". Ynet. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  40. ^ "Hamas remain defiant as Israeli strikes hit Gaza". Euronews. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  41. ^ Levy. Elior. Thousands take part in Hamas commander's funeral. YNet. 15 November 2012.
  42. ^ Sherwood, Harriet. Gaza violence: dejection and defiance as Palestinians bury their dead. The Guardian. 15 November 2012.
  43. ^ a b Armed groups vow response to assassination of Hamas leader. Ma'an News Agency. 14 November 2012.
  44. ^ "Egypt recalls ambassador from Israel over Gaza attacks". Maan News. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  45. ^ "Qatar wants Israel punished for Gaza attacks". Reuters. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  46. ^ "Rocket attack on Tel Aviv took Israel by surprise: Hezbollah". The Daily Star. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  47. ^ Trifunov, David (14 November 2012). "Ahmed Jabari: Hamas leader took all efforts to remain hidden". Global Post. Reuters. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 

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