Echoing the sentiments of the Hamas government following the death of Osama bin Laden, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip honored their fallen hero in a rally in Rafah on May 20.
In video footage supplied and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a large group of Palestinians can be seen marching through the streets chanting slogans like "Our souls and our blood we will give for you, oh Osama," and brandishing images of the world's most wanted terrorist.
Those present also seized the opportunity to lash out at America and the Jews. In the video, the crowd can be heard repeating the phrases, "America is the enemy of Allah…Osama destroyed America," and also "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews…The army of Muhammad is returning." The latter phrase is a common taunt used by Islamists and makes reference to the village of Khaybar, which was the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad's army in the 7th century and the site of a Jewish massacre.
Focusing more on bin Laden's contributions to the umma, Sheik Munir al-'Aydi, a speaker at the rally, refers to bin Laden as a "blessed man" who gave "his money and his soul for the Jihad and for the sake of Allah" and "united the nation around monotheism."
Al-'Aydi further describes bin Laden as an ally of the Palestinian people. "That is the man who said: 'I pledge before Allah that America and its people will enjoy no security before we enjoy true security in Palestine.' He was always devoted to the land of Palestine. He was always devoted to the liberation of the holy places."
Because of this devotion to the liberation of Palestine and bringing "the Americans to their knees," al-'Aydi immortalizes the al Qaida leader, exclaiming "You are not dead, oh Osama. You live on in the hearts of us all…Our entire nation is Osama."
In a similar display of respect to a longtime terrorist, Hamas has recently declared the home of its founder and formal spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a heritage site, according to the Al Qassam website.
The decision to open the home of Yassin, who was killed by the Israeli government in 2004, is intended to educate visitors about Yassin's "Jihadist career" as well as his activities against the Israeli occupation.
"The goal is to commemorate his image in a place which saw him devote his life to the distribution of Islam," said the Hamas official who announced the plan.