Palestinian politicians and analysts accuse Israel of assassinating in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur Saturday Palestinian missile expert and scientist Fadi Al-Batsh. Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ politburo, accused the Israeli Mossad of assassinating the engineer, and Islamic Jihad agrees.
“His assassination is a heinous crime that reveals real terrorism that must be stopped in its tracks,” it said, noting that the continued existence of the Zionist entity is a real threat to the security of countries and territories, the embassies of the enemy being “lairs for terrorism, sabotage, mayhem and targeting the loyal and talented of our people”.
The leader of Islamic Jihad called on the Malaysian authorities to “immediately investigate and catch the perpetrators before they flee”.
Malaysia’s chief of police said two people on a motorcycle shot Al-Batsh, 35, more than 14 times at 6am on Saturday near his home in northern Kuala Lumpur. One shot was a direct hit to his head and his body was peppered with bullets, immediately killing him.
Palestinian political analyst Tayseer Muhaysen said this happened to other freedom fighters and scientists from Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine, because Israel is always trying to abort any scientific advances that bolster Arab nations in confronting Israel scientifically, technologically or equalling it in power. Past and recent history is proof of this, he said.
Israel implicitly acknowledged the assassination, with Israeli military analysts using the term “termination” in their writings about the assassination and Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz warning Hamas of more.
“I suggest Ismail Haniyeh, if he really threatens to attack Israel overseas, to speak less and beware more,” said Katz. “He must understand that Gaza is much closer than Malaysia.”
Under the headline “Goal and Method Indicate Israeli Termination”, Israeli military analyst Yodev Lemur wrote, “It is natural that the termination of Fadi Al-Batsh in Malaysia is credited to the Mossad.
The target is an engineer who worked for Hamas, and the method is a drive-by shooting on a motorcycle without leaving any evidence, just as the case in other previous terminations.” Lemur continued: “The method of termination is common for Mossad, similar to the death of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Al-Shaqaqi in 1995 in Malta and several Iranian nuclear scientists in the past decade in Tehran.”
35-year-old Palestinian professor and Hamas member Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh who was killed early in the day in Malaysia outside his family's house in the Gaza strip (Photo: AFP)
Yossi Melman, a military analyst, wrote in Maariv newspaper about previous assassinations and crimes by the Mossad. “Israel’s interest in Hamas’ research and development unit is nothing new,” he wrote.
In 2013, in Ukraine, Palestinian engineer Al-Darar Abu Sisi, who worked at a power company in Gaza and was a consultant for Hamas on developing missile capabilities, was kidnapped and taken to Israel by the Mossad, according to foreign reports overseas.
In 2016, Mohamed Al-Zawari, a Palestinian aviation engineer who was a consultant for Hamas on unmanned navigation systems and unmanned submarines, was assassinated in Tunisia in what is believed to be a Mossad operation.
Writer and analyst Mohamed Dawdiya said there is a long list of assassinations by Mossad without prosecution of the culprits.
He said Mossad assassinated Ghassan Kanfani, Kamal Nasser, Kamal Adwan, Abu Youssef Al-Najjar and Hassan Salama in Beirut. Mahmoud Al-Hamshari, Zoheir Mohsen, Yehia Al-Mashad and Atef Besiso were assassinated in France. Said Hamami was killed in London; Wadie Haddad in East Germany; Monzer Abu Ghazala and Khaled Nazal in Athens; Khalil Al-Wazir, Salah Khalaf, Fakhri Al-Omri and Hayel Abdel-Hamid in Tunisia; Yehia Al-Shaqaqi in Malta; and Mamdouh Al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Mossad also assassinated Ahmed Yassin, Abu Ali Mustafa, Yehia Ayash, Abdel-Aziz Al-Rantisi, Said Siyam, Ahmed Al-Jaabari and dozens of others in occupied Palestine.
The Hollywood film Munich centres on assassinations supervised by former prime minister Golda Meir, but none of Israel’s politicians, plotters or perpetrators were ever prosecuted. Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, published photos of Israeli snipers who killed protesters with premeditation during the March of Return.
Fahmi Sharab, a Palestinian writer and analyst, said Israeli snipers were in the crosshairs of Al-Qassam Brigades sharpshooters, but peaceful means remains the path for success for the March of Return.
While Israeli snipers could have easily been shot by Al-Qassam operatives, a more eloquent and powerful message was to show them at work. In response to the death of Palestinian protesters, Kobe Midan, a reporter for Israel Radio, said: “I am ashamed of being Israeli.”
Abeer Abdel-Rahman Thabet, professor of political science and international relations in Gaza, said protesting Palestinians are unarmed civilians who go to the border with bare chests holding the Palestinian flag.
Israel conducted three wars against Gaza and continues to use excessive force with demonstrators. When Palestinians took to the streets, they surprised Israeli decision-makers with the peaceful nature of their protest.
Thabet continued that since the first day the Palestinian masses took the streets, on Land Day, until today protesters on the border are holding youth, cultural and heritage events — including dancing, poetry and weddings — on the border.
These are all messages by Palestinians to the world: “We are here as women, men, young and old, who believe in freedom, justice and human rights, and we are part of this world that is demanding the right to life for all people everywhere. We are just like you and want to find a way to live.”
She added that the world today understands this language, as seen in condemnations against Israel’s military machine attacking Palestinians.
Asaad Jouda, member of the global communications committee for the March of Return, said: “Our strategic choice was a peaceful, popular march for rights based on UN resolutions including Resolution 194. This is why the Palestinian people chose to march.”
Jouda noted that on the first day of marching, more than 1,500 were injured and 17 killed even though it was a peaceful march, because the enemy prefers to kill and appear to be the victim suffering from Palestinian terrorists.
“But we debunked these false claims since Israel has suffered zero losses, and the world is watching and sees that although the march is peaceful the occupation is shooting hundreds,” he said.
*This story was first published in Al-Ahram Weekly