Why Israel Wants to Assassinate Saleh al-Arouri, and How Hamas Responded

Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas's political bureau. (Photo: Sayyed Mahmoud Hosseini, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli government is considering the assassination of al-Arouri. This is how Hamas responded.

The deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, Saleh al-Arouri, appeared in his office in Gaza wearing military fatigue on Sunday, talking on a phone with a smile on his face, and an automatic rifle right in front of him. 

This was the Islamic Resistance Movement’s response to Israeli threats that Tel Aviv is ‘considering’ killing one of the top leaders of the Palestinian movement. 

The photo was meant to send a message back to Israel that neither al-Arouri nor Hamas are intimidated by the Israeli threats. 

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How It Started 

A few days earlier, the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth had reported that the Israeli government is considering the assassination of al-Arouri. 

According to the widely-circulated newspaper, Israeli authorities believe that al-Arouri is the leader of a movement that attempts to ignite an uprising in the occupied West Bank.

Al Jazeera Arabic reported that the Israeli newspaper “linked Al-Arouri’s calls for direct confrontation with the Israeli army and settlers to the increase in Palestinian operations in the West Bank in recent months, including two operations in Huwwara and Al-Khali (Hebron) a few days ago, in which three settlers were killed.”

Yedioth Ahronoth reported that retired Israeli general Eitan Dangot – who has served as the Military Secretary to three Ministers of Defense – has been calling for the assassination of Al-Arouri for years.

“He (al-Arouri) is, in my opinion, the most dangerous and important person in Hamas today,” Dangot told Yedioth Ahronoth.

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According to the Israeli newspaper, the Israeli government held a three-hour meeting last Tuesday to address the issue of the recent Palestinian operations in the occupied West Bank. The final decision was to “strike terrorists and their instigators.”

In the meeting, Netanyahu made a direct reference and threats directed at al-Arouri.  

“He (Arouri) knows very well why he and his friends are hiding. Hamas is well aware that we will fight by all means against their attempts to create terror against us in Judea and Samaria (the biblical name for the West Bank), in Gaza and elsewhere,” Aljazeera net quoted Netanyahu as saying. 

Return to Assassination Policy

Last April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the members of his government not to make any statements regarding a return to the assassination policy. 

Netanyahu’s directive came in response to statements by Israeli far-right Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir, who repeatedly called on the country’s security services to carry out assassinations of Palestinian resistance leaders.

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Saleh al-Arouri is considered one of the most prominent leaders of Hamas. He contributed to the establishment of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the movement, and he spent 15 years in an Israeli prison.

In a televised interview Friday, al-Arouri said that Israel’s repeated threats to assassinate him will not alter his path of resistance by an inch, as he put it.

At the same time, he warned that the Israeli government and its security cabinet are considering a series of steps that could lead to a “comprehensive regional war”.


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