On November 24, 2022 Hamas' student wing, the Islamic Bloc, held a reception for new students at Birzeit University in the West Bank. The event was titled "'Ayyash's Army," after terrorist Yahya 'Ayyash, who graduated in electric engineering from Birzeit University and was himself active in the Islamic Bloc. Known as the Engineer, 'Ayyash was one of the founders of Hamas' military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades. He specialized in the building of improvised bombs and was responsible for the wave of deadly suicide bombings in Israel in the 1990s, in which over 100 Israelis were killed, until his elimination by the Israeli security forces in 1996.
Hamas political bureau member Hussam Badran, who spoke at the reception, called on the students not to give up the freedom to resist the occupation by every means, while praising their spirit of sacrifice. The auditorium in which the reception took place was decorated with a large poster showing 'Ayyash as well as rockets and armed Hamas fighters, although the university administration has banned displays of militarism on campus.
It appears that the November 23, 2022 double attack in Jerusalem, in which bombs were planted near bus stations in Jerusalem, killing two Israeli civilians, triggered a renewed interest in 'Ayyash. In addition to his commemoration at the event at Birzeit, Palestinian social media users posted images of him and messages praising him and his activities.
Islamic Bloc's announcement of the "'Ayyash Army" reception at Birzeit (facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087905595175, November 23, 2022; kutla.ps, November 25, 2022)
This report reviews the event at Birzeit and examples of social media posts glorifying 'Ayyash.
Hamas Official To Birzeit Students: Do Not Give Up "The Freedom To Oppose The Occupation By All Means"
Speaking at the reception in Birzeit, Hamas political bureau member Hussam Badran praised young Palestinians for their "willingness to sacrifice and to join the national struggle," and called on the students not to give up "the freedom to resist and fight the occupation in all ways and by all means." He added: "Birzeit is more that just a university. It is a special national education facility, which produced and continues to produce many national leaders, prisoners and martyrs. The latest of them is the martyr 'Amer Badr, who is a model of initiative and sacrifice in resisting the occupation."
The "'Ayyash's Army Reception" At Birzeit University: Hamas Flags, Poster Featuring 'Ayyash And Rockets
Photos of the reception posted on social media show that the auditorium in which it was held was decorated with Hamas flags and with a large poster, produced by the Islamic Bloc, showing Yahya 'Ayyash and Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, and Hamas rockets named after 'Ayyash. Below are some of the photos:
SUPPORT OUR WORK
Tweet by Birzeit student Malak Alshoni: "'Ayyash's Army – Birzeit branch" (Twitter.com/AlshoniMalak, November 24, 2022)
Social Media Users Following Jerusalem Bombing: Yahya 'Ayyash Is An Idea That Will Never Die
As stated, the November 23, 2022 double bombing in Jerusalem, in which two Israeli civilians were killed, renewed the interest in terrorist Yahya 'Ayyash, who initiated Hamas' use of suicide bombings. Many Palestinians on social media compared the recent Jerusalem bombing to the suicide bombings initiated and inspired by 'Ayyash, praised his martyrdom and stated that his legacy lives on after his death.
Twitter user "eman_111_111" wrote after the bombing: "'Ayyash is an idea and ideas cannot die. #Jerusalem, #Yahya_'Ayyash."
User ekramelmabhouh shared an image of 'Ayyash and of the bus targeted in the bombing, captioned, "The ghost of the Engineer [Yahya 'Ayyash] continues to haunt them," and wrote: "#Yahya_'Ayyash left us in body, but his ideas and methods still exist among us and we implement them at every opportunity…"
User Asma_ali1995 shared a picture of 'Ayyash and the bombed Israeli bus, and wrote: "'Ayyash lives, do not say that he is dead. #The_way_of_Al-'Ayyash #Jerusalem_operation #Good_and_happy_morning."
User TRhhal shared a similar graphic with a quote attributed to 'Ayyash: "The Jews can uproot my body from Palestine, but I wish to sow among the [Palestinian] people [an idea] they cannot uproot." TRhhal commented: "Al-'Ayyash lives among us. #Jerusalem_operation."
The palroots_48 account, which posts materials related to Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations, also shared graphics alluding to 'Ayyash and the Jerusalem bombing, with similar messages. One of the graphics it posted was captioned "The legacy of [Yahya] Al-'Ayyash on the soil of occupied Jerusalem." Another showed bombed Israeli busses and was accompanied by the message: "The ghost of Yahya 'Ayyash continues to haunt them. Glory to you, the martyr [Ayyash], all the glory."
 See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis Report No. 1496 – Students Vs Administration: Crisis At Birzeit University In Palestinian Authority Following Ban On Military-Style Activity On Campus, January 15, 2020.
 'Amer Hussam Badr Halabia perpetrated a November 3, 2022 stabbing in Jerusalem in which three police officers were wounded.
 Hamas.ps, November 24, 2022.
 Twitter.com/paldf, facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087905595175, November 25, 2022, twitter.com/islamickutla, November 26, 2022.
 Twitter.com/eman_111_111, November 23, 2022.
 Twitter.com/ekramelmabhouh, November 23, 2022.
 Twitter.com/Asma_ali1995, November 24, 2022.
 Twitter.com/TRhhal, November 24, 2022.
 Twitter.com/palroots_48, November 23, 2022.