Four years since the martyrdom of Basel Al-Araj, a Palestinian revolutionary who fought against the occupation with pen and arms

By Maher Khazaal

Four years ago, on March 6, the Palestinian blogger and activist Basel Al-Araj, writer and committed intellectual who fought against the Israeli occupation, was martyred.

Al-Araj was known as one of the most prominent Palestinian activists in popular demonstrations and the Palestinian cultural movement.

He worked in the pharmacy field near occupied Jerusalem, and as a blogger and researcher on Palestinian history.

He was known for his broad culture, which he dedicated to resisting the occupation in all its forms, with blogs and articles supporting the resistance against the occupation. And he has also led popular demonstrations in support of the boycott of “Israel” and condemning the settlements.

Al-Araj worked on a project to orally document the most important stages of the Palestinian revolution from the 1930s against the British occupation, to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. He used to organize trips for young people while documenting, during which he gave an account full of the history of the area they visited, the battles in it and the martyrs.

Al-Araj was arrested by the Palestinian Authority along with five other political detainees in 2016 on charges of planning armed operations against “Israel.” After his release, the occupation authorities began to persecute him.

The Israeli intelligence service described Basel in 2016 as one of the most prominent leaders of the Palestinian youth movement after classifying this movement as a “terrorist organization.” On March 6, 2017, after a two-hour confrontation with “Energa” shells and a barrage of bullets, the occupying forces stormed the house in which Al-Araj was fortified near Ramallah, killed him and retained his body.

Basel hastily wrote his testament on the battlefield, and his handwriting was found among his books. It was a brief “Greetings to Arabism, the homeland and liberation.”

Basel´s testament in his own writting

“If you are reading this, it means that I have died and that my soul has ascended to its Creator, and I ask God to receive it with a healthy, communicative and unconscious heart, sincerely, without a hint of hypocrisy. It is difficult to write one´s own will, and since the years have passed, I have reflected on all the commandments of the martyrs that they wrote. And now I walk towards my death, satisfied and convinced, I have found my answers, oh Wali, what nonsense for me, and is there any more eloquent or more explicit was than the act of the martyr? I was supposed to write this many months ago, even what stopped me from doing this is in question. You are the living, so why do I answer for you, so that you seek it, but we, the people of the tombs, do not search except by the mercy of God.”

It is known that Basel will not be the only one on that road. But he left, leaving behind a national cause and a revolutionary idea that will always accompany the Palestinian youth. It is difficult to kill a person who is ready to die, as killing them would not make sense.

Rest in peace