Although I’m fast losing count of the names and number of Palestinians executed in the occupied Palestinian Territories over the past few weeks, this news story / obituary from Muftah about Hashem Azzeh lodged itself in my consciousness when I first read it a couple of days ago, and has stayed put ever since. Amid the insanity of summary executions, Washington Post claims of Palestinian blood lust, maps published then hastily withdrawn by MSNBC after a furore from the usual subjects, and Bibi’s latest lunacy, this man’s unwavering decency and courage stopped me in my tracks.

A few years ago, when my sister was very ill with breast cancer I had a conversation with my American step-mother about the horrors of that disease to which she had lost several close friends. In a moment of bitter, ghoulish humour, we joked about whose suffering we would be less moved by than that of the remarkable women we knew who’d been affected by it. Of course, we’d never wish such a fate on anyone but the news of this man’s horrific death brought to mind how we choose to live, who we choose to be and what we leave behind. It strikes me that Hashem Azzeh squeezed every drop of decency and humanity out of the indecent hand he was dealt.

To the mainstream media in this country, Hashem Azzeh is just another dead Palestinian. Fortunately, those of us with the energy to navigate the rabbit’s warren of alternative news sites online have the privilege of getting to know him a little, posthumously.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Hashem was not someone who could be cowed or silenced by fear. Even after being sentenced by the IDF to house arrest for several years, a punishment that caused him to lose his medical job with the UN, Hashem did not stop advocating for the liberation of his people.

He managed a psychological support group for members of his community, encouraging them to speak about the trauma that was a part of their daily lives. Together with his wife, Nisreen, he created a social enterprise for Hebron’s young Palestinian women, helping them to learn skills and earn money to support themselves and their families.”

Read more here: IDF Kills Hebron Peace Activist, Hashem Azzeh

In killing Hashem Azzeh, the Israeli government has undoubtedly removed a thorn from its side. But Hashem’s work does not end with his life.

Advertisements