Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah…a fighter whose life is summed up by the Palestinian cause

A Palestinian fighter who witnessed a large part of the history of the British Mandate, and is familiar with the secrets of Palestine and the occupation of Jerusalem, his life is the essence of the Palestinian cause. He is known as the Sheikh of freedom fighters and mujahideen. His birth coincided with the First World War, where he had to face the bitterness of the British occupation and then the brutality of the Israeli occupation. He lived a life full of charity and jihad and left it on January 26, 2012 in Amman at the age of 96.

birth and upbringing

Bahjat Aliyan Abu Gharbia was born in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, in 1916, but he grew up in the city of Jerusalem, which he loved madly, and he lived in its embrace for almost 50 years. He left it only under pressure after the shock of 1967.

His memoirs indicate that he comes from the ancient and famous Abu Gharibia family of the city of Hebron, and his father is Abdul Aziz Alian Abu Gharibia.

He learned Arabic and Turkish to read and write, traveled to Istanbul and settled there for a few months, and during World War I he was able to get a job as a district director (Ottoman administrative governor).

His mother, Fikriya Hasan, was of Turkish origin and immigrated with her family to Palestine and settled in the city of Hebron, where his father married her in 1900, and she gave birth to Bahjat, who was the second of his three brothers, Sabri, Was the fourth among. , Rashad, and Nihad. While his father's second wife gave birth to other brothers, Fawad, Shafiq, Hasan, Hussain and Ehsaan.

His father named him Bahjat because of his friendship with Commander Bahjat Bey, one of the assistants of Commander Jamal Pasha of the Fourth Turkish Army. The quality of the father's work caused the family to move repeatedly between the cities of Palestine until they settled in Jerusalem, where he spent his childhood and youth and became a thoroughbred Jerusalemite, and his personal life was devoted to the Palestinian cause and Got mixed with. Arab conflict.

He was greatly influenced by his family's upbringing, which instilled in him a sense of resistance and awareness of the dangers of colonialism and occupation. He remembers how his mother encouraged him to participate in demonstrations and protests and advised him to be careful so as not to fall into the hands of the enemies.

Study and scientific training

He started his academic career in the city of Hebron. In 1923, he entered Ma'aref government school and left after two years as his family moved to Jerusalem.

He joined the Government Training School and continued his education in the second and third grade of primary school. After a severe earthquake struck the region in 1927, he joined the city of Haifa and continued his education in the fourth grade of primary school.

After his family returned to Jerusalem in 1928, he joined the Rashidiya School, where he attended the fifth grade of primary school until the second grade of secondary school in 1931. However, because he was expected to suffer from an eye disease that would prevent him from obtaining a government job, a decision was issued against him requiring him to stop studying and go back to school. To learn a craft that guarantees their future.

I chose to learn watchmaking in a shop in Jerusalem, and it was a good opportunity not only to learn Hebrew, but also to learn about the Israelis' ambitions in Palestine.

In 1943, parallel to his work as an informal teacher at the Ibrahimiya School, he returned to academic studies, joined the Night School of the Young Men's Christian Association, and soothed the irritation of the interruption that had a major impact on his life. Was.

During his studies, he received education at the hands of national teachers and received a school education filled with the spirit of struggle, resistance and longing for freedom.

Apart from studies, he loved reading, and it was not strange that he liked books on Sufism, history, revolutions and literature, to the extent that from a young age he learned the details of the French Revolution, the October Socialist Revolution . and the American War of Independence, in addition to the writings of Marx, Lenin, and Hitler.

experience of struggle

Bahjat did not hesitate to participate in most of the demonstrations and armed battles against the occupation, as he was injured and imprisoned several times. He began his struggle experience by participating in the first major demonstration that marched through the streets of Jerusalem on October 13, 1933, in protest against British and Jewish immigration policies, when he was only 17 years old, where he was at the forefront. lines

He was deeply affected by the brutal manner in which Britain treated protesters, and the deaths and injuries that resulted in dozens of people. He was also saddened by the martyrdom of a family friend, Shaykh Izz al-Din al-Qassam, who had paved the way. The road to the great Palestine revolution. His response was to join secret revolutionary cells and devote his life to armed struggle for the sake of the motherland.

In the 1936 revolution against Britain and its policy of encouraging Jewish immigration, he held an important post in arms and was tasked with creating a military division, which he called the “Liberty Organisation”. He first tasted the bitterness of arrest as a result of a confrontation with and assault on a British policeman on Jaffa Street in early April 1936.

On June 12, 1936, he participated with his friend al-Ansari in the assassination of Jerusalem Police Chief Alan Seacrest, an Englishman of Jewish origin, near the Lions Gate police station, after planning and waiting for an entire month.

He participated in the Revolution of 1939 with full enthusiasm and struggle to oppose Britain, which attempted to suppress the revolution by killing its leaders or imprisoning and exiling them. He also took up arms in the war of 1947 to 1949 and contributed to the leadership of the Holy Jihad Army, in addition to participating in several battles, notably the Battle of Kastle.

His martial skills made him a trusted leader in the field, and he developed an armed and organizational plan with Abd al-Qadir al-Husseini (commander of the Holy Jihad Army) in Jerusalem during April 1947.

The following year, after the outbreak of the Battle of al-Qastal west of Jerusalem between Holy Jihad and Israeli forces in April 1948, he reached al-Qastal and, together with the Jerusalemites, conducted several successful armed operations that ended in the siege of Jerusalem. And to strengthen the encirclement and protect it from Israel's grip. However, the joy was not complete due to the martyrdom of al-Husseini, who was buried in Jerusalem.

After ending his relationship with the leadership of the Holy Jihad Army in March 1949 he was forced to seek another area of ​​struggle. He joined the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party between 1949 and 1959.

His joining the party was an essential milestone in his political career, and he was elected a member of the party's regional leadership in Jordan, where he was arrested several times during the 1950s. He disappeared from sight between 1957 and 1959, then was imprisoned. In Jordan between 1960 and 1962, he was then released with a general amnesty.

He joined the administrative body of the Hotel Workers' Union in Jerusalem from 1962–1963, then joined the ranks of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and gained his membership on its first executive committee in 1964. His relations with the organization's leadership became strained, particularly because of his position rejecting the Oslo Accords. On 21 October 1991, he submitted his resignation from the organization based on its agreement to join the peace process.

He tried to create a center for the resistance during the 1967 defeat and, despite his forced departure from Jerusalem, he played a role in supporting guerrillas in Jordan. Later he started opposing all kinds of generalization away from the fighting in the field.

Jobs and Responsibilities

Apart from teaching work at Ibrahimiya School, he entered the world of journalism and practiced this profession in 1937. He was a correspondent for the newspaper of the Islamic University of Jerusalem, published in Jaffa, and he became. A name that competed with prominent journalists such as “Defense” newspaper agent Shukri Katina and newspaper agent Farah Al-Sayegh. Palestine”.

He participated in publishing a map revealing England and Israel's plan to move the Palestinian railway junction from the city of Lod to the suburbs of Tel Aviv. This scoop resulted in a media uproar, leading to the entire project being abandoned.

During his youth, he participated in the Scouting movement, and was a leader and coach at the Ibrahimiya School, then in several sports clubs and paramilitary organizations.

The experience of the conflict enabled him to assume positions and responsibilities, notably his membership several times in the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, especially between the years 1964–1965 and 1967–1969.

He became involved in the leadership of the armed struggle in Amman, and became a member of the leadership of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front between 1968 and 1991, and a member of the Palestinian National Council and the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, but he resigned in 1991. Resigned from it due to the approval of National Council Resolution 242, which recognized Israel and required entry into negotiations with them. At the same time, he joined the National Arab Democratic Rally in Jordan between 1990 and 1992.

He served as Chairman of the Arab-Jordanian Committee to Combat Normalization between 1993 and 1995, and became a member of the Executive Committee of the Jordanian National Conference to Combat Normalization and Defense of the Homeland.

Writings and Achievements

He collected the essence of his struggle and struggle in two thousand pages of memoirs, addressed to future generations, in order to convey to them the message that fathers and grandfathers had fought honorably for the freedom of the Arab nation.

In 1993, he published the first part of his memoirs, titled “The Palestinian Arab Struggle between 1916–1948”, in which he discussed in detail the events and marches of resistance of an important era in the history of Palestine. of its people from the promulgation of the Balfour Declaration until the signing of the Arab-Israeli Armistice Agreement in 1949.

As for the second part of the memoirs, it was published in 2004 under the title “From the Nakba to the Second Intifada 1949-2000” and it talks about his participation in the Arab Ba'ath Party, his conflict with Jordan, Was dedicated to. His membership in the national movement, and the Palestine Liberation Organization and other organizations in which he worked. He touched it too. With boldness and detail, it covers important facts and events in the history of the Palestinian cause during the Nakba period.

his death

Bahjat Abu Ghraiba died in Amman on 26 January 2012, after a long struggle for Palestine. He died in the hope that the occupation would end and the state of Palestine would be established.

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