Making Friends with a Scorpion: the Murder of the Italian Peace Activist in the Gaza Strip

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Making Friends with a Scorpion: the Murder of the Italian Peace Activist in the Gaza Strip

Today, and rightfully so, everyone is following the dramatic assassination of Osama Bin Laden. I will write more in depth about this issue later this week.

At this time, however, I would like to share an article I completed a few days ago. As the news broke yesterday morning, I debated the timing and thought to delay distribution. However, as I reflected on the day’s events and its place within our world today, I actually felt that the timing was perfect

The article below discusses two aspects that are directly related to Bin Laden’s legacy of terror and death.

One phenomenon is the arm of Radical Islamic Terror, an “Octopus,” that is clearly inspired by Bin Laden’s teachings and legacy.

The other phenomenon is, as much it may be difficult to believe, Bin laden can thank – to some extent – certain individuals and organizations in the West that, out of blindness or naivety – or maybe not so much naivety – provide the “Terror Octopus” support, thus helping it extend its tentacles.

Ironically, the “Terror Octopus” is often aided by people from academic circles, the media, human rights organizations, etc., that passionately advocate on behalf of the core values of the West, such as “Freedom,” “Human Rights,” and “Democracy” – the very same values that Osama Bin Laden and his followers despise and the very same values that Radical Islam has declared a total and non-compromising war against.

And sometimes, as this article clearly shows, the irony of this phenomenon becomes a tragedy. This is the story of an enthusiastic Italian human rights activist who thought he could make friends with the scorpion of terror. He was dead wrong.

Making friends with a Scorpion: the Murder of the Italian Peace Activist in the Gaza Strip

May 1, 2011

by Avi Melamed

Vitorio Arigoni was a young Italian. For the past few years he lived in the Gaza Strip. He was described as a “Peace Activist” and he was a passionate advocate for the Hamas government that rules Gaza. Arigoni was so passionate that he tattooed the Arabic word “Almukawama” meaning “The Resistance,” on his arm. That word, in the contemporary Middle Eastern context has different meanings. Among them, it is the code word in Arabic for continuing the fight against the State of Israel by all means possible, including terror attacks, until Israel is destroyed and disappears from the face of the earth.

However, Arigoni’s service to Hamas and the people of Gaza was not enough of a life insurance policy. Arigoni was kidnapped, tortured and executed by one of the radical Islamic organizations that have flourished in Gaza under Hamas’ rule ever since Hamas overthrew the Palestinian Authority and took over the rule of Gazain a bloody coup in June 2007.

Arigoni paid with his life partially because he was a Christian – radical Islam calls for the killing of Christians, Jews, or whoever, in their distorted mind, is not an authentic Muslim. Arigoni paid with his life partially because of the internal brutal, merciless Palestinian politics in Gaza. Arigoni paid with his life partially because he was naïve.

But above all – Arigoni paid with his life because he simply did not know Arabic.

Had Arigoni known Arabic he would have been able to save his own life. He could have read the countless articles written in Arabic, by Arabs, including by the people of Gaza. If he had read these articles he would have known what a dangerous and cruel place he was entering. He should have known the truth. Someone should have told him about the brutal, merciless, Hamas rule – the same Hamas that that terrorizes Israelis by shooting thousands of rockets on schools, kindergartens and cities – the same Hamas that terrorizes, without mercy, its own brothers in Gaza.

But Arigoni, like other people in the West, was deceived by the efficient, sophisticated, Hamas and Anti-Israel propaganda “machine.” Their messaging, in English and many other languages, uses all the right words: “Human Rights,” “Occupation,” “Civil Rights,” and “Freedom.” This extremely well-funded public relations apparatus distorts the truth and cynically manipulates people in the world, especially in the West, taking advantage of the simple fact that people in the West do not speak Arabic so they would never read the articles and reports in Arabic, by Arabs, that reveal the real picture – the one that Hamas and other Anti-Israel organizations do not want the West to see.

Arigony, a passionate advocate for Hamas, should have known better. He should have known who and what Hamas really was.

Had he read Arabic, he could have read the article published on September 18th 2008, by Tarik Humeid, the Chief Editor of the International Arabic newspaper, Alshark Alawsat, one of the most important newspapers in the Arab world. In his article entitled Hamas’ Greediness Humeid wrote“…While 60% of the people in Gaza make a dollar and a half a day for living, Hamas pays its 18,000 militants about 16 million dollars a month…..It is obvious that Hamas’ first priority is its militants and not the people of Gaza”.

Arigoni should have read another article in Alshark Alawsat entitled Is Mubarak the President of Gaza? This article was published on June 7th 2010 by Mamun Fendi, an Egyptian professor. In this article Dr. Fendi
wrote: “The greatest of all the human catastrophes in Gaza is Hamas. A group of irresponsible people that sacrifice ordinary people for the sake of victories on TV screens instead of improving the people’s reality …Hamas is the catastrophe of Gaza and its people and the answer to that will come only when the Hamas government is toppled and a new government will be formed, a government that can handle relations with both friends and enemies alike. Haniya (the Hamas Prime Minister) and his group should be held accountable for involving the people of Gaza in their policy of starvation and desperation. Hamas has turned Gaza from a productive society into a welfare case – cut and clear.”

Mr. Arigoni’s murder has evoked a strong response in the Arab world. The vast majority of Palestinians strongly condemn his murder. However, there are Arabs, throughout the world that have also hinted, or outwardly accused, Israeli involvement in his murder. Few Arabs accept this fabrication. Most Arabs are quite clear on the identity of Mr. Arigoni’s killers.

For example, here is a comment made by an Arab reader, who apparently lives in Gaza, responding to an article entitled Who Killed Victor? This article was written in Elaph, a leading Arabic news portal, by an Arab named Ahmed Abu Ruteima, who, like a few other Arabs, has had the nerve to hint that Israel was involved in the murder of Arigoni.

“He (Arigoni) should have known better before coming to Gaza, he should have known that it is one of the most dangerous place on earth, that harbors the most radical organizations…he should have known that if even if you make friends with a scorpion, the scorpion will never change its nature…He should have known not to step into that hornet’s nest…he should have known that Gaza harbors the ultimate radical organizations…..”

It must be noted that Mr. Ruteima is not a journalist. He was the captain of the ship that brought Arigoni to Gaza. How do I know? Simple. He says so in the article.

Here is the link to Mr. Abu Ruteima’s article in Arabic: (any translation mechanism you have on your computer will enable you to get the main points of the article even if it is not a perfect translation. Elaph also offers its own English translation of some of its articles.)

Now, here is another small, yet significant piece of information that the West will never hear because it has been written in Arabic. Arigoni was not the only one who came to Gaza on a boat. A Jordanian citizen named Abd Alrahman Albrizat, from the city of Zarka in Jordan came to Gaza as a “Peace Activist” under the name “Muhamad Hasan” on one of the famous “Flotilla” boats, the boats that were allegedly supposed to “release the people of Gaza from the humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli siege.” (The “humanitarian crisis in Gaza” is another one of the cynical lies created and perpetuated by Hamas and the Anti-Israel propaganda machine. In an upcoming article I will specifically discuss the and I will bring you primary Arab sources regarding that issue that may surprise you and, I hope, cause you to begin to question what “you know.”)

Albrizat, the Jordanian “Peace Activist” was one of the murderers of Arigoni. A few days after Arigoni’s murder, Albrizat was killed in a shoot out with Hamas Special Forces. Albrizat clearly gives a very interesting meaning to the term “Peace activist.”

Here are two articles describing how Muhamad Hasan under the alias Abd Alrahman Albrizat entered Gaza:

One article is from Elaph:

The other is from Al-Quds Alarabi, a very popular hard-line, Arab nationalist anti-Israeli newspaper published inLondon:

Sadly, Mr. Arigoni also can’t read the following quote from another article that was written in Arabic after his murder. But perhaps his family would be interested to know what it says. Daud Alaryan, another Arab journalist, published an article entitled: Hamas is to be Held Accountable in which he says “….No one asks why the killing of infidels has become so popular in Gaza. No one asks about the Islamic radicalization of Gaza. Who is responsible for producing radical Islam in Gaza? Where did and do these radical groups come from? Many members of these groups are ex-Hamas activists…Hamas gave birth to these groups…to the point that Gaza under Hamas’ rule has become an Afghan style place…Hamas created the reasons, the circumstances and the ideological and political conditions that gave birth to that crime (the murder of Arigoni)…Hamas gave birth to a generation that brutally kills people like this innocent person.”

Here is the link to Mr. Alaryan’s article in Arabic: (again any translation mechanism you have on your computer will enable you to get the main points of the article even if it is not a perfect translation. Elaph also offers its own English translation of some of its articles.)

Unfortunately, Arigoni did not read these articles and many others because they were written in Arabic and tragically, it is too late for Arigoni to know.

If you want to have a better understanding of the news and what really drives the unfolding events…
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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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