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A Vision for Palestinian Womens Rights Organizations based on the Global Study on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325
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Date posted: March 23, 2004
By MIFTAH

"We must remember that the enemy's strength is naught compared with Allah's grace."

Confined to a wheelchair as a result of a childhood accident at the age of 12, and nearly blind and deaf from chronic illness he suffered in his later years, Sheikh Ahmad Ismail Yassin was still able to create one of the largest Islamic fundamentalist movements, Hamas.

Born in Al-Jura village, Al-Majdal district in 1936; then a refugee to Gaza in 1948, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin was influenced by Muslim Brotherhood teachers in the mid 1950s and became a member in 1955 while studying at Al-Azhar University in Cairo-Egypt, despite having no previous religious education.

Yassin trained as a teacher in Cairo, then returned to Gaza and worked as a teacher, preacher and community worker (1957-64) before continuing his education at Ein-Shams University also in Cairo (1964-65), but shortly after, he was returned to Gaza by Egyptian authorities because of his involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood; in 1966, Yassin was imprisoned by the Egyptian authorities for one month for subversive activity.

Ahmad Yassin left the political sphere after the beginning of the Israeli occupation, and concentrated on promoting Muslim beliefs and fostering the return of an Islamic state.

In 1973, Ahmad Yassin established Mojamaa Al-Islam (The Islamic Charitable League), which aimed to run health and educational programs, but soon controlled all religious institutions. In 1982 the group was developed into Al-Majahadoun Al-Filastiniyun (Palestinian fighters), which had an anti-PLO stance.

Sheikh Ahmad Yassin was arrested for the first time by the Israelis in 1983, after the discovery of arms cache and was sentenced to 13 years of prison, of which he served one and was released on May 1985 in a prisoners exchange program, however, Yassin was not allowed to return to his position as the chairman of the Islamic Congress. In 1986 he set up a group to curb drug-dealers and keep tabs on opponents.

In December 1987, Yassin founded and became the spiritual leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, which is considered one of the strongest political Palestinian opposition movements and a vicious rival to the Palestinian Authority. In August 1988, Sheikh Yassin drafted the Hamas Charter Palestine, an alternative to the PLO Covenant.

Sheikh Yassin was again arrested in 1989 along with 200 members of Hamas and was sentenced in 1991 to life plus 15 years for his responsibility for most Hamas activities, but was released in 1997 as a concession to Jordan for the failed Mossad attempt on the life of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in the middle of Amman.

On the 6th October, 1997, Ahmad Yassin returned to Gaza and was received by thousands. He stressed the need for national unity and showed his support for the PNA by declaring that it was the only authority representing the Palestinian people.

Yassin was repeatedly placed under house arrest by the PNA for provoking and initiating widespread clashes and activities in the Palestinian areas occupied in 1967.

While Sheikh Yassin believed that Palestine belongs to Islam and advocated an Islamic state in all of Palestine, he was considered a moderating force within Hamas and on July 2000, Sheikh Yassin offered Israel a truce.

"If Israel withdraws completely from the West Bank and Gaza and it removes all of its settlements, I will make a truce with it. You have my word for it," Yassin stressed. He also added that if Israel stops attacking Palestinian civilians, Hamas will stop attacking Israeli civilians.

During 2003-2004, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin became involved in Egyptian-mediated ceasefire talks with other Palestinian faction and PMs Abbas and Qurei during 2003-2004

On September 2003, Yassin survived an Israeli attempt to assassinate him, when a bomb was dropped on a building where several Hamas leaders were meeting.

Sheikh Ahmad Yassin was assassinated by Israel on March22nd, 2004. Israeli helicopters fired three missiles aimed at Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, instantly killing him and nine other Palestinians as they were coming out of morning prayers, among them his son-in-law. 17 Palestinians sustained serious injuries, including two of Yassins sons.

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