It has been eight years since the assassination of senior commander of al-Qassam Brigades Ahmad al-Jabari on 14 November 2012 in an Israeli air strike that led to the outbreak of the eight-day-long “Hijaret al-Sijjil” battle, in which the Palestinian resistance proved that assassinating Palestinian figures would only make the Palestinians more determined to continue resisting the occupation.
Al-Jabari, who also served as a member of the Hamas political bureau, was at the top of the “most wanted” list of the Israeli occupation, which calls him as the Hamas chief of staff.
Al-Jabari was born in 1960 in Shujai'iya neighbourhood in eastern Gaza to a family originally from the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron). He continued his education after high school until he got a master’s in history from the Islamic University of Gaza.
In the early years of his adulthood, al-Jabari witnessed the repeated defeats suffered by Arab armies against the Israeli occupation, prompting him to firmly believe that liberating homelands cannot be achieved without honest resistance.
Having an instinctive belief in the resistance option against the Israeli occupation, al-Jabrai was arrested by Israeli occupation forces when was only 18 years old.
An Israeli occupation court sentenced al-Jabari to 13 years in prison. During his imprisonment, al-Jabari was strongly influenced by former commander-in-chief of al-Qassam Bridges Salah Shehada, also assassinated by the Israeli occupation army in the summer of 2002, before joining Hamas.
During the first nine years of his incarceration, al-Jabari dedicated his time to serving his fellow detainees and led with a number of strikes by which they had achieved several demands. He had frequently represented his fellow prisoners in talks with the Israeli prison administration.
In early 1994, al-Jabari rejected an offer of early release in return for pledging to abandon the option of resistance against the occupation.
Commanding military action
Al-Jabari played a significant role in restructuring and leading the military action against the Israeli occupation before and during the 2000 Second Intifada (uprising). He moved up the command structure and played a major logistical role, particularly after the assassination of Salah Shehada. Al-Jabari significantly contributed to enhancing the military capabilities and training of al-Qassam Brigades.
Al-Jabari survived several assassination attempts by the Israeli occupation; the most prominent of which took place on August 2004 when an Israeli occupation warplanes bombed his house in Shujai'iya neighbourhood in eastern Gaza, killing his son Mohammed, 23, his brother Fathi, 38, and his son-in-law, along with a number of his relatives and his bodyguard Alaa al-Sharif, 27.
Wafa al-Ahrar deal
Al-Jabari made headlines during the indirect negotiations that he led on behalf of al-Qassam Brigades with Arab and international mediators to release Israeli occupation soldier, Gilad Shalit, captured by the Hamas’ military wing in 2006.
In October 2011, al-Jabari managed to release 1,050 Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons, most of whom were serving long sentences, in a prisoner swap agreement known as the "Wafa al-Ahrar" deal.
Al-Jabari was assassinated along with his bodyguard Mohammed al-Hams in an Israeli air strike on his car in Gaza on 14 November 2012.
“Al-Qassam Brigades will never abandon any possible option to activate resistance, release Palestinian detainees and break the will of the usurper Israeli occupation.”
“As long as the Zionists are occupying our lands, they have no choice but to face death or leave the occupied Palestinian territories.”