2 Persons
5 January 2024 - 20:56
Beirut, Kerman tragedies & implications

As a student leader at Hebron University to his eventual position as Deputy Chairman of the Hamas political bureau, Saleh Alarouri's journey was marked by struggle for Palestine, imprisonment and a tumultuous relationship with Israel. His martyrdom in an Israeli strike in Beirut, came as a defining moment in the escalating tensions in the Middle East. Saleh Alarouri's ascent to the role of Deputy Chairman of the Hamas political bureau in 2017 solidified his standing as a key political figure within the organization.

Accused by Israel and America of overseeing Hamas's military operations in the occupied West Bank, his presence on the US list of terrorists since 2015 added an international dimension to him. The Israeli strike that martyred him targeted Hamas's office in Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah stronghold in southern Beirut, Lebanon. Accused of financing and orchestrating military operations in the West Bank, Saleh Alarouri faced condemnation from both Israel and the US. The US announced $5 million for information leading to his identification or location, highlighting the severity of the allegations against him.

A closer look at Saleh's life reveals a dual identity - a meticulous, bookish figure who was not only an organiser and militant but also a family man. Despite occasional claims of reform, Saleh's actions spoke louder than words. His exile to Turkeye and subsequent alleged planning of increased West Bank role suggested a relentless pursuit of Hamas's objectives, particularly through the tactic of kidnapping Israelis. The US designated Saleh Alarouri as terrorist in 2015. The repercussions of this designation included the blocking of assets and restrictions on transactions involving him.

The Israeli strike in Beirut that claimed Saleh Alarouri's life marked a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. As the most high profile figure to be assassinated in the conflict, his death heightened fears of a wider regional blowout.

Hamas and its allies, including Lebanon based Hezbollah, vowed retaliation, deepening concerns about the widening scope of the conflict. The strike not only stirred tensions between Israel and Lebanon but also drew condemnation from Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati, who feared further entanglement in the war.

Saleh's martyrdom came at a defining moment for the organization, as Israel attempts to eradicate it. Deputy Hamas leader Saleh Alarouri had long expected the Israeli drone strike that killed him in Beirut. In August 2023 Saleh said that he was waiting for martyrdom. "Israel has done this surgical strike against the Hamas leadership," said Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israel's prime minister. Israel does not typically confirm or deny responsibility for such attacks. Israel has long accused Hamas of lethal attacks on its citizens, but he was also at the heart of negotiations over the outcome of the Gaza war and the release of hostages conducted by Qatar and Egypt.

As Hamas's senior leader in Lebanon, Saleh played an important role in cementing Hamas' relations with the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah and, through it, with Iran. Though less influential than Hamas' leaders in Gaza, Saleh Alarouri was seen as a key player in the movement, masterminding its operations in the West Bank from exile in Syria, Turkeye, Qatar and Lebanon after long stints in Israeli prisons. Islamic Jihad, an allied group, swore revenge for his killing. Saleh Alarouri met Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah several times, as well as Iranian officials in Lebanon. He worked with them to coordinate positions regarding the conflict in Gaza.

Beirut, Kerman tragedies & implications

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds for years, fighting a brief civil war in 2007 when Hamas seized power in Gaza, though the rival organization have continued to hold periodic negotiations. Saleh, within Hamas was known as a leading advocate of reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions, enjoying good relationship with Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which holds sway in the West Bank. Israel perceived  Saleh Alarouri as a hardliner and helped found the group's military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. He was one of the senior Hamas leaders behind the group's strong expansion into the West Bank. As Israel's occupation of the West Bank continued, with Jewish settlements expanding and Palestinian statehood appearing ever more distant, Saleh Alarouri said that there was no other option but to engage in what he called comprehensive resistance.

As a member of Hamas' politburo under the group's Qatar-based overall leader Ismail Haniyeh, Saleh was well used to dialogue, even indirectly with Israelis. With the group's Gaza leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Marwan Issa in deep hiding, Saleh was closely involved in negotiations around the war, saying in December 2023 that no more hostages would be released until complete ceasefire. .In 2011, soon after release from prison, Saleh was one of Hamas negotiators involved in a prisoner swap with Israel that the group hopes to replicate after the current war using hostages seized on October 7.

Condemning Saleh Alarouri's death, Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh has said that Palestine movement, martyrdom of Saleh and the sacrifices of the Palestinian nation will never be defeated.

 Israel Palestine war has already spilled over to Lebanon and Syria. Israeli attacks on Palestine, Lebanon and Syria are deteriorating the Middle Eastern situation. An immediate seize fire should be followed by permanent solution of the conflict. Saleh's martyrdom in Beirut and bomb blasts at the fourth death anniversary of General Qassem Suleimani in Kerman, have clear relevance and linkage.  These incidents were designed to provoke Hamas and Hezbollah. The  perpetrators( US, UK and Israel) of both Beirut and Kerman tragedies are the same.  Martyrdoms of Saleh Alarouri and General Qassem Suleimani will never be forgotten. Hamas and Hezbollah have pleged to take revenge of Saleh's martyrdom from the Jews all over. Israel, Great Britain and America want to worsen the situation in Middle East and expand and linger the war.

*Thewriter is editor, anchor, political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad. He can be reached at naveedamankhan@hotmail.com and Tweets @AmanNaveed11

News ID 196820

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