Qassam, Kassam... So What's In A Name?

After lobbing almost a hundred rockets, mortars, and missiles at Israel, Israel National News reported on June 20th that Hamas' military wing agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ...

"In response to the Egyptian efforts to try and stop the aggression on our people, we at Al-Qassam Brigades and all resistance factions declare our commitment to stop this round of confrontation, as long as (Israel) commits to stopping its crimes," said a statement from Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

Izz ad-Din al-Qassam...

He must be--or have been--one helluva important "Palestinian" dude... right?

We'll see shortly, but first some background is in order...

Ever since a now comatose Prime Minister Sharon announced plans for a unilateral disengagement from Gaza about eight years ago, adjacent towns in Israel proper have come under increasing attack. The hundred projectiles recently fired were among thousands which preceded them.

Qassam rockets have frequently targeted communities such as Sderot and Ashkelon, deliberately aimed at terrorizing civilians. Whereas Israel tries its best to carefully pinpoint those responsible for the murder of its people, the Arab victims of choice are the most innocent. Not only is greater shock value derived from this, the reality is that, in Arab eyes, there are no Jewish innocents. Jewish preschoolers had earlier been killed in such volleys, helping to set into motion Israel's previous assault on Gaza's terror apparatus. Thousands more of these led to Israel's broader 2008 incursion.

Now, when choosing this major weapon of terror, Hamas (which, like most other Arabs, denies a Jewish State of Israel's right to exist with or without the disputed territories) gave careful thought to the name that it should go by.

The "militant wing" of the organization (the folks that actually fire the missiles and blow up the buses, teen night clubs, pizzerias, and such) had already been named after one of the Arabs' main heroes in the fight against the Jews, Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. It was decided to name this weapon in honor of him as well.

Given this honor, surely such a man must have had some great credentials in the "Palestinian" Arab movement...don't you think?

Of course!

Old Izzy made his name via butchering and disemboweling "Zionist invaders" during the early Mandate period after World War I.

So, what else do we know about this legendary leader of the "Palestinians?"

Well, for starters...

Hamas' hero--like many if not most other "native Palestinians"--was born elsewhere, outside of "Palestine." In Izzy's case, Latakia, know, where Arabs are now butchering Arabs too.

In just one three month period alone during those early days, the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commissions documented scores of thousands of other Syrian Arabs pouring into the British Mandate of Palestine.

Like numerous other Arabs moving into it from elsewhere, they came to take advantage of the economic boom going on because of the influx of Jewish capital. And for every Arab newcomer--settler--that was documented, many more slipped in under cover of darkness and were never recorded. Add to this the fact that, for a number of reasons, the Brits were more concerned about entering Jews than entering Arabs. Despite this , lots of evidence exists which shows that--just like the murderous Sheikh--most so-called "Palestinian" Arabs were no more native than most of the returning, forcibly exiled, Diaspora Jews.

Now think about this for a moment...

So many Arabs were recent arrivals into the Mandate that when UNRWA was created to deal with the Arab refugee situation, created as a result of the invasion by a half dozen Arab states of a reborn Israel in 1948, UNRWA adjusted the definition of "refugee" from the prior meaning of persons normally and traditionally resident to those who lived in the Mandate for a minimum of only two years prior to 1948.

Also keep in mind that for every Arab who was forced to flee the fighting that the Arabs started in their attempt to nip a nascent Israel in the bud in 1948, a Jewish refugee was forced to flee Arab lands-- but with no UNRWA set up to help them.

Indeed, thousands of Jews fled the same Syria that the Sheikh immigrated to Palestine from. Greater New York City alone now has tens of thousands of these folks. Many others moved to Israel and elsewhere. The celebrity, Paula Abdul, is from a Syrian Jewish refugee family on her father's side.

But, while Arabs see it as their natural right to settle anywhere in the Dar ul-Islam and what they claim as purely Arab patrimony (despite the fact that scores of millions of non-Arabs also live in the area and have been conquered and forcibly Arabized by them), when Jews moved into their sole, reborn state (as opposed to almost two dozen for Arabs), Arabs declared this to be al nakba...the catastrophe.

Hundreds of millions of Hindus and Muslims could arrive at a less-than-perfect modus vivendi in the 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent--at virtually the same moment in history that Arabs were rejecting a similar offer over what was left of the Palestine Mandate after Arabs had already been awarded the lion's share in 1922 with the separation of Transjordan--yet the mere thought of anyone else gaining a mere sliver of the very same political rights that Arabs demand for themselves (be they Kurds, Imazighen/"Berbers", Copts, black Africans, Jews, or whomever) was out of the question. The conflict we have in the Middle East today is largely all about this subjugating Arab mindset which refuses to understand no justice but its own.

So, my now better-informed readers, the next time you hear or read about "Qassam" rockets targeting Israeli civilians, please consider the deadly irony here.

And, oh yes, I almost forgot...

Izzy's modern day counterpart, Arafat himself, was born in Cairo, Egypt. And thousands of other Egyptian Arabs had preceded his own migration and settlement in Palestine somewhat earlier in the wake of Muhammad Ali and son Ibrahim Pasha's military excursions in the 19th century...more Arab settlers establishing Arab settlements in Palestine.

Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs. He has created and conducted counter-Arab propaganda programs for college youth, has lectured on numerous campuses and other platforms, and has publicly debated many Arab spokesmen. His articles and op-eds have been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites all around the world. Visit his website at