Israeli authorities demolished a statue of the late Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani yesterday in the northern city of Acre, Quds Press has reported. The statue was erected by relatives and Palestinian activists at the entrance of Nabi Saleh Cemetery in the city, Kanafani’s birthplace.
Israel’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Aryeh Deri, ordered the demolition after an intervention by Minister of Culture Miri Regev. “It is impossible for the statue of someone like this man to remain,” said the right-wing Regev. “He was a prominent member of a group which killed Israelis.” She pointed out that Kanafani is still a cultural and national hero for the Palestinians.
In fact, Kanafani was one of the most well-known Palestinian and Arab writers and journalists of the 20th century. Deri, though, claimed that the statue was demolished because it was of a “terrorist”, saying that Kanafani was affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is a “terrorist group”.
The Popular Committee in Akka expressed its deep anger at the demolition of the statue. “He is still scaring the state of Israel, its intelligence agencies and its army even while he is dead,” said the Committee.
Ghassan Kanafani was born in the city of Akka in the north of Palestine on 8 April, 1936, during the British Mandate occupation era. He rejected the Israeli occupation in 1948 and became active against it, writing novels and articles denouncing the state and joining the PFLP. On 8 July, 1972, the writer was assassinated in Beirut by a bomb planted in his car by the Israeli Mossad spy agency.