“I am passing a message to the Zionist occupation army. This is our land. We are not going to give up. America has to withdraw from the declaration they made. We are to give the message that Palestinians are strong people.”
This was the last message of Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh for the Zionist occupying forces and the Trump administration, sent out from the border of Gaza and the occupied part of Palestine.
The struggle for the liberation of Palestine recently reignited when US President Donald Trump signed a document recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. With this act, he plunged the entire region into another episode of chaos and anarchy, all the while maintaining (hypocritically?) that he was, in fact, aiming to help safeguard peace in the Middle East.
The Palestinian issue started with the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent signing of the Balfour Declaration. Lord Balfour had written a letter to Lord Rothschild, a prominent Zionist, promising Jews a home in the state of Palestine. The follow-up to the Balfour Declaration was the UN declaration of November 1947, in favour of partition of land between Jews and Arabs.
Once the division had been executed, East Jerusalem remained part of Palestine – with custody of the Holy sites and the sovereignty of the State of Palestine. It was blatantly clear from the very start that the Zionists were not happy: they wanted complete sovereign control over Jerusalem and other (all) parts of Palestine. After the Six Day War of 1967, Israel took over most of Palestine and the West Bank from the Jordanians. Since then, Jerusalem has been in the control of the Israel’s administration.
The struggle for liberation did not stop and the First Intifada took place in the late 1980s, the Second Intifada in 2000 when Ariel Sharon visited Temple Mount.
The courageous struggle of the Palestinians cannot be denied or disputed. The major casualties of this whole struggle had always been the Palestinian children. The Palestinian people have decided to keep fighting till the last drop of their blood, just like Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh.
The martyred Ibrahim was 29 when he was shot in the head by the militant of Israeli Defense Force, on December 16 this year. Ibrahim was and will forever remain to be a symbol of the struggle for all the liberation movements across the world. He is the icon for the rights activist. He is an inspiration for all the disable community across the world.
Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh was a warrior who had lost both legs in the Israeli air strike in 2008 on the Gaza and occupied Palestine border while removing Israel’s and putting up a flag of Palestine.
He did not let that unfortunate incident stop him and continued his struggle even as he remained the breadwinner of the house (he used to wash cars to earn a living). Ibrahim’s wheelchair became his legs. He was everywhere. He was last photographed making a victory sign a few meters away from the Israeli forces.
Amidst the thousands of Gazans protesting for their rights, the armed militants of Israel aimed at a man on a wheelchair. The man on the wheelchair had no fear and was looking directly at the Israeli forces. There was no choice of turning back. For Ibrahim, liberation was the only option. The shot was fired and it went through the forehead of this hero. Ibrahim was dead before his body was graced with an ambulance.
The protesters had to call off their protest for the day. They had lost their friend, brother, companion: they had lost their bravest of warriors. The Israelis had chosen the most cowardly way to stop the protesters.
Ibrahim left the world as heroes and legends do. He fought hard for Al-Quds. He left all true rights activists in pain and despair. However, even though Ibrahim has left the world in body, his spirit lingers on as a call to all to unite in the battle against brutality and hatred.
Ibrahim’s passing is not an end of a struggle, but the herald of an even more determined and strong-footed struggle; one that the likes of Israel, or Trump, will not be able to defeat.
The writer is a Lahore-based lawyer, practising human rights and criminal law.