Basil al-Araj, aged 31, 33 or 34, was shot and killed today by Israel’s occupation forces after a two hour fight in Qaddoura refugee camp at the town West Bank town of al-Bireh.
Israeli occupation soldiers stormed the house al-Araj was in after he reportedly ran out of ammunition, and allegedly he was then shot from a close range in what would be a war crime. Occupation forces then dragged his body outside and eventually took it away.
Israel’s occupation forces had been searching for al-Araj since he was released by Palestinian Authority in last autumn.
Two other Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli occupation forces during or after the gunfight.
According to an unconfirmed claim, the house could have belonged to Basil al-Araj’s grandmother.
THE PATH TO MARTYRDOM
Basil al-Araj, from al-Walaja near Bethlehem, was a long time activist, amateur historian and a writer, who had been previously arrested by Israeli occupation while taking part in peaceful protests against the occupation.
Like some other young activists, he appears to have become disillusioned with peaceful protests which gained neither support nor visibility from foreign states and media, and the uprising which began in autumn of 2015 seems to have caused him to change his stance and embrace armed resistance.
He was part of a group of young Palestinian activists whose arrests (al-Araj was arrested on March 30th) and imprisonment last spring as part of Palestinian Authority’s ‘security co-operation’ with occupier Israel received wide publicity and condemnation. It was claimed that the activists were subjected to various forms of torture while in Palestinian Authority’s custody.
After a hunger-strike the activists were released in early September, but everybody else except al-Araj and Ali Dar al-Sheikh(19)* were arrested by Israel’s occupation forces, which accused them of ‘planning attacks’ against the occupier. A video of one of then, Haitham Siyaj, being beaten in Israeli occupation custody, emerged last year.
All of them – Seif al-Idrissi(26), Mohammed al-Salameen(19), Mohammed Harb(23) and Haitham Siyaj(29)* – are still imprisoned by the Israeli occupation without charges or trial.
Basel al-Araj went hiding to avoid arrest by Israel’s occupation forces and evaded them until today.
* Ages at the time of their release from Palestinian Authority’s custody in last September.
‘Wanted’ Palestinian killed by Israeli forces after 2-hour shoot out (title later changed to ‘Palestinian activist ‘executed’ by Israeli forces after 2-hour shoot-out’)