Sympathy for Sheikh

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, one of the men we tried to kill a few days ago, is no “Mr Nice Guy”. As the founder and spiritual head of Hamas, he has been responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent people. However, various media outlets try to portray him in a sympathetic light.

It is no surprise that Al-Crapeeza focuses on his frail appearance and devoutness, not to mention his hero status amongst palestinians, with hardly a scant reference to his horrendous crimes:

The 67-year-old shaikh, a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, was injured in the right shoulder when an Israeli warplane targeted a block of flats in Gaza City where he was visiting an acquaintance.

Confined to a wheelchair since the age of 12 when he lost the use of his legs in an accident while playing football in Gaza’s Shati refugee camp, Yasin’s emblematic image is ubiquitous throughout the Gaza Strip, and adorns the prison cells of many resistance fighters held by Israel

He has frequently said Hamas would only stop its bombing campaign if the Israeli army stopped “killing Palestinian women, children and innocent civilians”.

The diminutive and bearded Yasin, who is always seen wearing the traditional white skullcap, founded the movement at the start of the first Palestinian Intifada..Yasin needs help in all daily activities and suffers from muscular deterioration, chronic breathing problems and hearing loss.

Father to 11 children, the elderly shaikh belongs to one of many Palestinian families expelled from their homes in what is today Israel during the first Israeli-Arab war in 1948.

Shaikh Yasin was born in 1936 in Majdel near the coastal town of Ashkelon, but fled to Gaza with his family after the village was destroyed in 1948. Despite his paralysis, after completing secondary school Yasin left for Cairo, where he spent a year studying at Ein Shams University. A lack of money forced him to cut short his studies and return home.

The BBC, in an article from last year, also paints the picture of a frail man who provides inspiration to disillusioned palestinians. Again, there is hardly any reference to his crimes:

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of Hamas, is a frail man who can barely see. His voice is thin and quavering.

Yet he wields growing power among Palestinians, long frustrated with a peace process that has failed to improve their lives.

Born in 1938 in what was then Palestine under the British mandate, Sheikh Yassin’s political views were forged at a time of humiliation and defeat for Palestinians.

Sheikh Yassin himself has proved a powerful inspiration for young Palestinians disillusioned with the collapse of peace hopes.

However, it is a CNN profile on Yassin from a few years ago that is the most infuriating, with its portrayal of Hamas as a humanitarian organization:

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin founded the Hamas movement in Gaza in 1987 at the beginning of the intifada, or “uprising,” the largely nonviolent Palestinian protest against Israeli occupation. Hamas, which means “zeal,” is a grass-roots Palestinian organization known in Gaza and the West Bank for humanitarian efforts. But the military wing of Hamas, Izzedine al Quassam, is accused of carrying out attacks and suicide bombings that have killed dozens of people in Israel.

I am sure there are a plethora of other examples, but I’ll leave it to you to find them.

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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