* Jenin district leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades
Zakaria al-Zubaidi heads the Jenin branch of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of Fatah. Blaming Israel for the wretched living conditions of the Palestinian people, he has encouraged “martyr operations” (i.e., suicide bombings) against Israeli civilians.
In November 2003 al-Zubaidi stated that suicide attacks against Israel were part and parcel of the Brigades’ modus operandi, and that they would stop only if Fatah leader Yasser Arafat were to call for a ceasefire. On another occasion, al-Zubaidi said his organization would never disarm: “Abandoning a gun is like abandoning one’s honor.”
In October 2004, al-Zubaidi and a group of armed Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades members forced the closure of the local Palestinian parliament and finance ministry offices — to protest the Palestinian Authority‘s failure to compensate the surviving relatives of Arab men who had died in the ongoing Intifada against Israel. Al-Zubaidi told Al Jazeera television: “The closure will continue until the legislative council passes a law ensuring protection for families of martyrs…. We have been appealing to the PLC (parliament) for the last eight months to pass a bill which would protect the families of martyrs. These offices will remain closed until the law is adopted.”
When Israeli authorities in July 2007 announced an amnesty for some 178 “wanted” Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades members, al-Zubaidi said: “The Al-Aqsa Matyrs’ Brigades activists have signed a pledge to cease attacks against Israel … [and] won’t be an obstacle to any political project aimed at solving the Palestinian question.”