Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi

(1947-2004) A Palestinian political figure. In 1987, Rantisi co-founded the Palestinian movement Hamas. He was part of organizing early protests in Gaza that sparked the First Intifada. Rantisi was arrested/detained by Israel 4 times between 1988-1991, and was expelled by the Israeli government in the 1992 Mass Deportation to no-man’s land in south Lebanon. Rantisi emerged as the spokesperson for the deportees and returned to the Gaza Strip in early 1993. He was instrumental in organizing Hamas’s welfare network. By 1999, Rantisi was the effective political head of Hamas. He was appointed as the leader of Hamas after Sheikh Ahmad Yassin was assassinated by an Israeli missile strike in March 2004. Rantisi was a proponent of armed resistance against Israel, had strongly opposed the Oslo Accords, and frequently called for the liberation of all of historic Palestine. In later years, however, Rantisi’s tone became more moderate, and in 2004, he offered a 10-year truce with Israel in exchange for withdrawal and a Palestinian state. The Israeli Airforce assassinated Rantisi in April 2004. See Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi Obituary, The Independent, April 19, 2004.

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