Activist and Writer Basil al-Araj Assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces

March 6, 2017

In a pre-dawn raid attacking a home in el-Bireh, Basil al-Araj, 31, Palestinian youth activist and writer pursued by Israel for nearly a year, was assassinated by invading Israeli occupation forces this morning.

Al-Araj, from the village of Walaja near Bethlehem, fought back and resisted the invading forces for two hours before the attacking occupation soldiers broke into the home where he was staying and executed him at close range. They then seized his body and took it to an unknown location.

The attack on the home included rocket fire as well as al-Araj’s extrajudicial execution in a hail of bullets. Al-Araj’s family home in al-Walaja had been repeatedly raided by occupation forces for months.

Al-Araj, a writer and activist involved in a wide array of Palestinian grassroots struggles for liberation, was among the Palestinian youth dedicated to reviving the Palestinian national liberation movement. One of six Palestinian youth released from Palestinian Authority prisons after nearly six months of detention when they launched a hunger strike, Al-Araj and other youth had been seized in April in what was touted as a victory for security coordination between the PA and Israel. While they were imprisoned by the PA, they were subject to torture and ill-treatment by PA security forces.

After their hunger strike and widespread attention to their case, including protests after reports of their torture, secured their release, four of the youth – Mohammed al-Salameen, Seif al-Idrissi, Haitham Siyaj, and Mohammed Harb – have been seized by Israeli occupation forces. All four have been ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.

The extrajudicial execution of Basil al-Araj is yet another example of the ongoing use of “arrest raids” as assassination raids against Palestinian strugglers, including the killing of Abdullah Shalaldeh in the hospital and the murder of former prisoner and struggler Muataz Washaha. It also highlights once again the devastating and deadly reality of “security coordination” between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Authority for Palestinians struggling for their liberation, pursued and imprisoned through this coordination up to the point of their execution.

Source: Samidoun