See also, the dispatches:
1. Rantissi's successor
2. The Palestinian Authority pretends to mourn
3. Those murdering "activists"
4. Charitable deeds?
5. Rantissi in his own words
6. Ha'aretz: Hamas member admits that Yassin was not a "Spiritual" Leader
7. Rantissi's last victim: Short profile of Kfir Ohayun, 19, from Eilat, murdered yesterday hours before Rantissi's death. Kfir was buried this afternoon in Eilat
8. Note by a senior journalist concerning the BBC, Orla Guerin, and Hamas
9. Dan Gillerman: "Rantissi's gloating face"
10. Abdel Aziz Rantissi (Press release from Israeli security sources)
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
The Hamas leader in Gaza Dr Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, one of the world's bloodiest terrorists, was killed yesterday. Hamas have already chosen a successor. Hamas's Damascus-based supreme leader Khaled Mashaal has ordered his name kept secret, but Israeli army intelligence believes Rantissi's heir in the Gaza Strip is Ismail Haniyah, who previously served as Sheikh Yassin's bureau chief (with Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar serving as Haniyah's deputy). In the West Bank, it is believed the Hamas head is Hassan Yusuf, who is now in Israeli administrative detention.
For those wanting to know more about this supposedly working class-based organization - as some Middle East "experts" would have us believe Hamas to be - Khaled Mashaal is a physics teacher; Mahmoud Zahar is a doctor; and the other senior Hamas leader still alive, Moussa Abu Marzook, holds a Ph.D. in industrial engineering, and lived in the United States for 15 years. In 1995, he was detained by U.S. authorities on suspicion of activities in support of terrorism, but the Clinton administration expelled him rather than put him on trial. He is now in Syria.
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY MOURNS
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia last night hailed Rantissi as a "noble" man.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has declared three days of mourning in all Palestinian towns and villages and has set up a mourners' tent at his headquarters in Ramallah. Arafat has instructed schools to devote the first half-hour of lessons to reading from the Koran in memory of Rantissi.
In fact, Arafat and the Palestinian Authority stand to gain from Rantissi's death. Rantissi was a fierce rival to Arafat, and was arrested numerous times by Arafat over the last decade. When Arafat felt like encouraging Hamas to carry out fresh suicide bombs, he let Rantissi and other Hamas leaders out of Palestinian jails.
THOSE MURDERING "ACTIVISTS"
In their reporting on Rantissi's death, both CNN and BBC have referred to Hamas - the organization responsible for more terror attacks against civilians than any other in modern history - as "activists".
Unlike Voice of America, many of the BBC reports do not mention yesterday's suicide bomb attack (which Hamas jointly claimed responsibility for), which killed a 19 year old and injured several other people (in addition to the bomber).
As an important part of their breaking news story on Rantissi's death yesterday, Reuters, decided that it was essential to mention, not details of the hundreds of people murdered on Rantissi's orders, but Rantissi's interior decorating. Reuters: Rantissi had a "modestly furnished living room."
Just as many media organizations incessantly mentioned that the last leader of Hamas Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was a "spiritual leader" (when in fact he was not - see Hamas member quoted in Ha'aretz report below) several media outlets are today emphasizing that Rantissi was a "pediatrician" or "doctor", and that Hamas is also an "organized charity". (See also note on BBC below).
RANTISI IN HIS OWN WORDS, TO REMEMBER HIM BY:
* About Suicide Bombers "I congratulate them. They will teach the Jewish mothers in Haifa, Tel Aviv and everywhere."
* On the explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia "The explosion of the shuttle Columbia is, it is reasonable to assume, part of the divine punishment of America and, together with it, Zionism - because of their massacres of Muslims, the destruction of their lives, the humiliation of their honor, and their desire to globalize corruption."
* "By God, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine. We will fight them with all the strength we have."
* "There is no difference between Akko, Haifa, Gaza, Jaffa or Nablus. The Palestinian Intifada will continue until the last Zionist is banished."
* On the Road Map peace proposal: "This is a Zionist conspiracy against the Palestinian people. Our armed resistance will not stop. On the contrary, Hamas will reach deep into the cities of Israel."
* About terrorism "This is the answer to the Zionist terrorism, in the future we will multiply the suicide bombing attacks and we will carry out operations that will shock the Jews."
* "This operation, whoever is behind it, is natural." - September 2003, after deadly suicide bombings at a crowded bus stop near Rishon Lezion and five hours later at a Jerusalem nightspot.
* "The word cease-fire is not in our dictionary. Resistance will continue." - June 2003, as Egypt tried to work out a truce.
WAS YASSIN REALLY A SPIRITUAL LEADER?
By Amira Hass (Ha'aretz)
"Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was neither a religious leader nor a spiritual leader. He did not establish religious precedent and he was not a spiritual, religious man," says S., a Hamas member in Gaza who frequently met with Yassin.
"A spiritual, religious leader," says S. "is a person who sits at home, rules on issues of religious law, and receives people who come to him to get his blessing. This is not what Yassin was."
(Tom Gross adds: Ha'aretz correspondent Amira Hass, by her own admission, is a keen sympathizer with the "Palestinian national struggle" and is fiercely critical of Israel. She has close ties with Hamas "activists." It is doubtful that she would emphasize this point unless it were correct.)
KFIR OHAYUN, 19, FROM EILAT
By Revital Levy-Stein, Ha'aretz
Kfir Ohayun was born in Eilat, the eldest son in a family of five children. His mother works as a kindergarten assistant and his father is an electrician.
The last time that Ohayun's family heard from him was on Friday. He had called home from the army and had spoken with his younger brothers.
His friends said Kfir loved his family more than anything else. "He always wanted everybody to be together," recounts a close friend.
Friends and family said Kfir was a shy person, and all of them added that he was a good boy. His good friend Liro Shihrur said: "He was such a good person. Impossible to get mad at. He would smile constantly."
Ohayun enlisted in the Border Patrol just nine months ago, yet he had already managed to complete the non-commissioned-officers course. He was supposed to have celebrated his 20th birthday next month.
Ohayun will be laid to rest Sunday at 2 P.M. in Eilat.
NOTE BY A SENIOR JOURNALIST ON THE BBC AND HAMAS
A senior journalist, and subscriber to this email list, writes:
Two things stand out from the BBC coverage of the Rantissi assassination.
First is the BBC profile of Hamas, reproduced below from the website. Quite apart from the highly tendentious description of Hamas policy ("seen as a legitimate fighting force defending Palestinians from a brutal military occupation"... Hamas runs "social programmes like building schools, hospitals and religious institutions... "Many Palestinians see "martyrdom" operations as the best way to revenge their own losses and counter Israel's seemingly-inexorable march to colonise the West Bank and Gaza"), there is a fascinating inaccuracy and coyness in the description of the Hamas politburo in Damascus.
It is described as "a branch" when it is in fact the ultimate leadership, and it is decribed as being "formerly in Jordan" with no hint of where it sits now - in Damascus. [TG adds: Several media organizations have done their best to downplay the very close support offered to Hamas terrorist actions by the Syrian and Saudi governments.]
Second, BBC chief Jerusalem correspondent Orla Guerin on Saturday night went out of her way to quote Rantissi as saying he was "a politician with no link to the armed wing" but failed to quote the Israeli accusation when in fact he was the commander of the armed wing.
They neglected to replay the footage of Rantissi himself waving an AK47 and then receiving kisses and pledges of personal allegiance 3 days after Yassin's assassination from dozens masked, armed, combat-fatigued officers of the Hamas armed wing.
Orla Guerin's report has now been deleted from the BBC website. There are subtle changes in the report now running from Matthew Price to make it less offensive.
(Tom Gross adds: The BBC profile of Rantissi is headlined "Profile: Forceful spokesman" and barely touches on the hundreds Israeli children murdered and maimed on Rantissi's orders. There is no mention of the description last month by Ephraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad, of Rantissi as an "operational" rather than a religious leader.)
DAN GILLERMAN: "RANTISSI'S GLOATING FACE"
Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations (and a subscriber to this email list), said that the assassination was part of a planned military strategy against terrorists. "This is a man whose gloating face appeared on television every time there was a suicide bombing that killed women and children and babies in Israel," he said.
"I think that the demise of this man, the fact that he is no longer with us, is very good news for the freedom-loving world, for the war against terror and should be greeted with very great satisfaction by moderate Arab states," he said.
PRESS RELEASE COMMUNICATED BY ISRAELI SECURITY SOURCES
In a security forces operation in the northern Gaza Strip on April 17, the IDF targeted a car carrying the leader of Hamas, Abdel Aziz Rantissi, who is directly responsible for the killing of scores of Israelis in numerous terror attacks.
Abdel Aziz Rantissi, leader of the Hamas terror organization, was killed in an operation by Israeli security forces.
Rantissi, one of the founders of Hamas in the Gaza strip, was responsible for the Hamas terror policy and promoted the carrying out of deadly terror attacks.
Rantissi, 56, was recently chosen to head the Hamas organization, replacing Ahmed Yassin. Rantissi took part in establishing the terrorist policy of the organization and also served as its main spokesperson. He played a key and active role in inciting terror attacks.
Rantissi was one of the six founders of the Hamas in September 1987, along with Ahmed Yassin. He first served as head of the Hamas in Khan Yunis and was among the senior leadership of the Hamas during the first Palestinian 'Intifada'. He was jailed between 1988-1990 and following his release returned to activity in the Hamas. He was briefly jailed in 1991.
Rantissi, originally from Khan Yunis, was by profession a doctor and a lecturer at the Islamic University. With the start of the violence in September 2000 he moved to the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza.
In December 1992, he was removed to Lebanon where he served as a spokesperson for the group of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, until their return in 1993. In December 1993 he was arrested again after being named by other Hamas members as a contact for the terrorist network and for coordinating the appointment of operatives for various positions in the organization. For these activities he was jailed until April 1997.
Following his release from Israeli jail he began to reorganize the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip. He expressed extremist positions and enjoyed the support of the extremist members of the terrorist apparatus and of the Hamas leadership abroad, based in Syria. He tried to replace the old leadership of Hamas, which was active between 1995-1997 in Gaza because he felt they were too moderate. In elections held May 1997, a new leadership of 30 activists was elected. Rantissi, with the encouragement of the Hamas abroad, represented this group and was appointed spokesperson for the Hamas in Gaza.
Between 1997-2000 Rantissi was jailed periodically by the Palestinian Authority, but was able to continue to act within the Hamas and worked to strengthen his position within the Hamas organization and specifically within the leadership.
Since the outbreak of violence in September 2000, Rantissi solidified his position within the Hamas leadership. His role included:
Virulent incitement, repeatedly calling for suicide attack inside Israel, continued attacks in Gaza, kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and firing of mortar shells into Israel.
Rantissi maintained contact with senior terror leaders within the Hamas and encouraged them to continue carrying out attacks. He was responsible for establishing and overseeing secret terrorist cells.
He maintained contact with the Hamas leadership abroad and with senior members of the Palestinian Authority, advocating an extremist position which opposed any cease fire with Israel or any political arrangement between the PA and Israel. He called for continued terror attacks against Israel, all the while trying to undermine any diplomatic efforts of the PA.
Rantissi publicly called, at every possible opportunity, to continue armed attacks and specifically to increase the suicide attacks and attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers. These public calls were taken as operational directive of the Hamas leadership.
Rantissi was officially named as the replacement of Ahmed Yassin.
The following are statements by Rantissi (source - Hamas internet site, 26 January 2004):
* "There will be no concession of one inch of Palestine, because it is Islamic Land."
* There will be no recognition of what is called the 'State of Israel.'"
Any solution which includes recognizing what is called the 'State of Israel' or concession on one inch of historic Palestine is unacceptable and void, and doesn't obligate us at all."
* "[Violent] Resistance is the only option for the restoration of our stolen rights."
In an interview on April 9, 2004: "We say to the Muslim people of Iraq, we are with you in your struggle against American terror and destruction, we are with you in your war in defense of Islam. We say to the fighter and commander Mokutada A-Sadr: Hamas stands by your side and blesses your Jihad (holy war) and wishes you with the help of God, that you will win and be victorious."
Rantissi studied medicine in Alexandria, Egypt, and in 1972 after completing his studies began working at a hospital in Gaza and teaching at the local Islamic University.
Japan, Syria, Yemen, Britain, Iran, China, Spain, Russia, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana all rushed to condemn Israel today.
On the other hand, former Mossad chief Danny Yatom (who is now a Labor MK) said Rantissi's killing was "a huge blow to Hamas" and "an intelligence coup [by Israel] of the highest order."
[All notes above by Tom Gross]