The Secret History of My Geography Teacher, also Co-founder of Hamas

Ustaz Hamad al-Hasant, my geography teacher, who co-founded Hamas.

Hasanat’s oldest son is Yaser, thus he was “Abu Yaser” – father of Yaser. I have never met Yaser, but I knew Tariq Dukhan well. Both Tariq and Yaser, along with two other teenagers, started the militant wing of Hamas, known as Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Tariq went to my school in Nuseirat. He was the son of our principal, Abdul Fatah Dukhan, a friend of Hasanat. Together, Abdul Fatah and my geography teacher, along with Sheik Ahmed Yassin, launched the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas on 14 December, 1987. Their children were also the founder of the Qassam Brigades.

That fateful decision by some teachers at UN schools in my refugee camp and other areas in the Strip had fundamentally altered Palestine’s political landscape, and set the stage for the rise of the strongest fighting force in Palestinian armed struggle, ending with Israel’s summer war against Gaza last year. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians were killed in the so-called Operation Protective Edge, but also 70 Israelis, over 60 of whom were soldiers. The Hamas legend had never been more pronounced in Palestinian society.

Yasser, Tariq and two others were killed after a brief period of daring battle with the Israeli army. Tariq’s place was filled by his brother, Mohammed, who was a classmate of mine starting in the third grade. Back then, I liked him particularly because he gave me access to the UNRWA-supplied football after school hours. He stole the keys from his dad whenever we needed to get access to the storage room of the school. Mohammed was killed by Israel at the age of 20.

– Read more:  The Secret History of My Geography Teacher, also Co-founder of Hamas – Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Eye

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