The Center for Political and Development Studies held a discussion circle April 28 in Gaza on the murder of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Italian activist Vittorio Arigoni. Dr. Mahmoud Alhirthank, CPDS Chairman, began the discussion with a short speech, shedding light on Arigoni’s solidarity with the Palestinian people that started 10 years ago and intensified in 2008 as he arrived to Gaza on the first vessel since 1967.
Alhirthani considered the murder of Arrigno a shameful act that defames the image of the Palestinian people, assuring that it will not affect ISM activists who are very close to Palestine’s values and know very well the degree of appreciation that Palestinians hold in their hearts toward Internationals.
Silvia, an Italian activist, stressed that Vittorio has worked during the last 10 years for Palestinians and he was famous and well known all over Gaza. “His murder will not stop the International Solidarity Movement, and thousands of Italian activists are going to send a convoy to Gaza soon,” she said.
Dr. Asaad Abu Sharekh, a lecturer at Alazhar University, assured that extremism is not a phenomenon in Gaza. “I believe that Vittorio was killed by the Mossad that killed Juliano Mer Khamis weeks ago. They took a decision to stop the process of delegitimizing Israel and they did their best to liquidate the Palestinian cause,” said Abu Sharekh.
“The Mossad is behind the murder to tell the world that Gaza is full of extremists and there are no peace lovers,” he added. Abu Sharekh also stressed the fact that “Vittorio” comes from the Latin name Victorious. Thus, Vittorio decided to humanize life when others tried to animalize and dehumanize it. “Accordingly, he behaved according to the connotation and donnotation of his name.”
“Vittorio was martyred for Palestine, the killers don’t belong to us and Palestine is a shrine for all freedom fighters like the holy City of Mecca” he assured. “His soul is hovering around us and he was a witness of Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians.”
Most Gazans opposed the murder of Arrigoni and called upon policemen to capture those who carried out the murder and bring them before the court. Many people who live under the Israeli siege feel that there are hidden hands stand behind the murder.
“He took trouble to come here and stand by fishermen and farmers, paid to make life easier for other people and fought with us for a just tomorrow for our people. For this reason, he was haunted by US and European powers” said Mr. Ahmed Alhaj. He stressed that “the criminals are not Muslims and they use Islam to cover their crime. Western Powers intended to kill him and they have agents here and everywhere.”
Analysts believe that the murder is aimed at stopping the international convoys which attempt to break the siege, bearing in mind that it comes while the organizers of the second flotilla ,which is named‘ Stay Human’, as a sign of appreciation to Arrigoni’s work for Palestine, are getting ready to navigate to Gaza .
Dr. Mosheer Amer, a lecturer at IUG expressed his sadness for the loss of Vittorio, calling him “The son of Palestine who sacrificed his life for what he believed in.” Amer agreed that the Mossad is behind the murder for two reasons: to delay the second Flotilla and to cause problems to Hamas with other small groups in Gaza. “The Palestinian society has been very clear in defining the enemy (The Zionist enemy),” he said.
The murder of Arrigoni is not the first in Gaza. The occupation forces murdered Rachel Aliene Corrie, an American ISM activist who lost her life as an Israeli bulldozer walked over her body while she was kneeling in front of a local Palestinian’s home, thus acting as a human shield, attempting to prevent IOF forces from demolishing the home in Rafah City in 16 March 2003.
Ramy Almghari, a writer and a journalist based in Gaza, said “ISM has been in Palestine since a long time ago. This could not be separated from the murder of Rachel Corrie”. ISM activists are freedom fighters and they should not stop working with Palestinians hand by hand.” He added.
Agony swelled all over Gaza and residents fell in shock as reports assured the murder of the son of Palestine, Vik.
“What happened was very shocking. He was fighting against the occupation. The loss of Vik was a tragedy for his family and Palestinians as well,” said Dr. Hani Albasous, CPDS vice chairman. It was a crime that does not represent Gaza and meant to stop the international delegation and portray Gazans as extremists. This will not happen. Gazans will have stronger relations with internationals”.
It will push many people to come to Gaza, particularly his family and friends,” he added.
The Israeli Propaganda controls the narrative of western Media and Palestinians are being defamed each time a similar incident occurs in the Palestinian Territories.
University professors deem it indispensable to have writers in English so as to the Palestinian point of view is heard too.
Dr. Ayman Alhallaq, a lecturer at IUG in the Literary Criticism Department, stressed the importance of having writers who publish in English to reflect the Palestinian point of view, having our media in the West and providing channels for free, as well as having more social access to people to change public opinion there. Commenting on Vittorio’s murder, he said, “The killers don’t belong to us and we are supposed to respect internationals. Those who did it are not Palestinians and Vittorio deserves all respect.”