The day after the targeted killing of Hamas terrorist chief Ahmed Jabari, the Palestinian media lead with headlines praising his “martyrdom,” despite his long history of involvement in terrorism against Israeli civilians.
According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, referred to Jabari’s death as Shahada—martyrdom death for Allah—calling it “the crowning achievement of his life of struggle” and “his self-sacrificing actions (i.e., terror attacks) will be told for generations to come and will be eternalized in memory.”
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that, “Arab countries in the [UN] Security Council discuss courses of action to end the [Israeli] aggression.”
The PA’s support for Jabari comes despite his position as part of its rival, Hamas. The PA broke with Hamas in 2006 after Hamas forces ousted the PA from Gaza in a bloody coup d’état. Meanwhile, in Gaza, tens of thousands took to the streets for Jabari’s funeral procession from Gaza’s Omari Mosque, according to the Times of Israel.
Referred to by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as the “the military chief of staff of Hamas,” Jabari was born in 1960 in a village in Gaza. Jabari was arrested by Israeli forces in 1982 as a member of Fatah and spent 13 years in an Israeli prison where he switched allegiance to Hamas. After his release in 1995 Jabari quickly rose through the ranks of Hamas’s military wing—the Izz Adin al-Qassam Brigades—for his role in several terrorist attacks against Israel, such as a 1998 terror attack on a school bus that killed two Israeli children.
In 2002, Jabari took over as commander of Hamas’s military wing after the former commander was injured in an Israeli strike. In 2006, Jabari directed the capture of Israeli solider Gilad Shalit.
In a 2006 interview with Al-Jazeera on the targeting of civilians, Jabari said “The Jew who comes to the soil of Palestine… is fighting us, and we will fight him and kill him,” according to PMW.
Later, Jabari received praise by Hamas’s hardline leadership for his role in securing the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit in 2011.