Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

For Israel, Walid Hassanian was a terrorist who was eliminated while preparing to attack in the north of the country. For his comrades in arms, Walid is a hero.

To die a martyr: the wish of several young people in Lebanon | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Walid Hassanian was the father of two young children. At 33, this fighter was killed during an Israeli strike.

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To the sound of sirens, the funeral procession sets off in the Palestinian camp of Mié Mié in Saida, Lebanon's third city. Around an ambulance transporting the body of Walid Hassanian, dozens of young men in black military uniform carry the green Hamas flag.

The deceased was the father of two young children. At 33, this Palestinian covered himself in glory with his family in death, killed by an Israeli strike in Lebanon.

For this Hamas fighter, dying a violent death was inevitable, said Ghassan Danna, his cousin.

He knew he would end up a martyr. If it wasn't this time, then it would have been the next.

A quote from Ghassan Danna, cousin of the deceased

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A photo of the deceased on an ambulance at the head of the procession.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Since the start of the war in Gaza between Israel and the movement Islamist Hamas, on October 7, Lebanese Hezbollah launches daily attacks against Israel from southern Lebanon to support its Palestinian ally.

Israel responds by bombing areas on the border. Exchanges of fire have intensified in recent weeks, raising fears of the opening of a second front on Israel's northern border.

On Wednesday, the chief of staff of the Israeli army, Herzi Halevi, said he estimated the probability of a war in the coming months on the border with Lebanon now much higher than it was by the past.

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Herzi Halevi, Israeli Chief of Staff (Photo by archives)

For Israel, Walid Hassanian was a terrorist who was eliminated as he prepared to attack in the north of the country.

For his comrades in arms, gathered in tears on his coffin covered with Palestinian Hamas flags in the Martyrs Mosque, in Saida, Walid is a hero.

Away from the men, on the sidewalk in front of the mosque, the women of his family express nothing but pride. Nasra, his aunt, carries a large poster on which we see the dead young man all smiles.

We are happy with his martyrdom and we are all ready to sacrifice our lives for Palestine. We appeal to all Palestinians and we tell everyone not to shy away, says Nasra Ahmed El Achar, Walid Hassanian's aunt.

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Nasra Ahmed El Achar, Walid Hassanian's aunt.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Since the assassination of Hamas number 2 in early January, several other members of this Palestinian organization have been eliminated by the Israelis. Far from being discouraged, Hamas is resolute and continues to recruit new fighters in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon.

This is what we expected of us, the people in exile in the camps. We must support children, women and the elderly, says Jihad Taha, member of the Hamas political bureau in Lebanon.

Our people cry out to the whole world, but the world does not hear.

A quote from Jihad Taha, member of the Hamas political bureau in Lebanon

In the crowd that accompanies the coffin from the mosque to the cemetery, young children wear the military uniform of Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters. Their disguise is completed by fake automatic weapons and plastic rocket launchers.

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Young people imitate fighters by carrying plastic weapons.

Louay Issa is 20 years old. The weapons he carries now are no longer toys. He joined Hamas shortly after the group’s deadly attack in Israel on October 7. Far from denouncing the massacre, he is proud of it.

What happened on October 7 was the same thing that happened to us in 1948, when they entered our land and killed children, women and men, he said of the Israelis. So what happened is normal, and I am happy and proud of it.

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Louay Issa, a member of Hamas

Death, for him, is an end in itself.

It is between the person and God , it’s a connection. There comes a time when you pray to become a martyr. I'm going to die anyway, but I prefer to die as a martyr.

A quote from Louay Issa, a young member of Hamas

This deadly, omnipresent logic makes us doubt that the diplomatic efforts of the Americans and the rest of the international community can prevent an escalation of daily clashes between Hezbollah, its allied militias and Israel.

For Sheikh Maher Hammoud, a Sunni imam close to Shiite Hezbollah, as long as the faith is sincere, it is a noble gesture to become a martyr.

With Israel, there is no other way: you have to defend yourself, you have to be resistant, he says.

Many young people, those in their twenties, are excited about dying and look for times when death might occur. This is a strength for us and we are proud of it.

A quote from Sheikh Maher Hammoud, imam

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Sheikh Maher Hammoud, a Sunni imam close to Shiite Hezbollah.

Israelis are weakened by their desire to live, says Hammoud, for whom the goal is not peace but the elimination of Israel. /p>

In the near future, there will be no more Israel, says the imam. It's an inevitable fate, according to him.

The feeling is the same around the freshly dug grave of Walid Hassanian: we believe we are destined to die, from generation to generation.

The violent death of Walid serves as inspiration.

Ghassan Danna, Walid's cousin, does not believe in a political solution to the conflict. War is the only solution. We experienced the civil war here, the war of 2006, we experienced the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and we know the consequences. But our cause remains our cause.

They were born in exile and have never been able to set foot on this land where the Palestinians of Lebanon are languishing. It is the dream of an abstract country. Yet they draw its outlines in blood.

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