On September 8, 2017, Israel released the body of Qatiba Zahran (17), from the town of 'Alar near Tulkarm, who was shot and killed while attempting to stab an Israeli border guard at the Za'atra checkpoint in Nablus on August 18, 2017. Upon delivering the body to the family, 'Issam Abu Bakr, the governor of Tulkarm – a position to which he was appointed by Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas – said that Israel routinely targets Palestinian civilians. At Zahran's funeral, the next day, Tulkarm Deputy Governor Mustafa Takatka accused Israel of committing "crimes" against the Palestinians, and declared that the Palestinian people, under the leadership of President Mahmoud 'Abbas, would continue to persist on the path of struggle. The claim that Israel had "executed" Zahran had already been made the day after attack, August 19, when the Palestinian Foreign Ministry accused the "occupation authorities" of executing him in cold blood. This was in disregard of the fact that before setting out to perpetrate out the attack, Zahran had posted, on his Facebook page, his last will and testament, announcing his intention to die as a "martyr" in order to "avenge the blood of the martyrs in Palestine."
Qatiba Zahran's Will: I Will Not Die Of Distress; Martyrdom Beckons Me; I Will Be A Groom In Paradise
As noted, before carrying out his attack, Zahran posted on his Facebook page his last will and testament, which was later reposted on numerous other Facebook pages and websites. In it he wrote that he had long yearned to become a martyr in order to "avenge the blood of the martyrs in Palestine" and thus join the Prophet Muhammad in Paradise as well as the "prophets, righteous people, martyrs, and the virtuous." He asked his family to forgive him and begged them not to mourn him, while reminding them of the Muslim belief that a martyr can vouch for 70 of his relatives to enter Paradise. He began his will with cursing the Jews, saying that Allah "helps the mujahideen" and "humiliates the cursed Jews."
Zahran wrote in his will: "'Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties, [and in exchange] they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed [Quran 9:111].' All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, who protects the mujahideen and humiliates the cursed Jews. Prayers and peace be upon the imam of the faithful and the commander of the mujahideen and his family, and upon his companions and [all] those who followed in his footsteps and waged jihad until the Day of Judgment.
"My beloved family members, [I have] glad tidings for you.
"My beloved father, forgive me. I have realized my wish and hurried toward martyrdom for the sake of Allah, with the determination of the mujahideen. I have left this transient world and rushed toward eternal life in Paradise, to meet Allah's Chosen One [the Prophet Muhammad] along with the [other] prophets, righteous people, martyrs, and the virtuous. Oh my family members, know that I did not leave you out of distress or out of a wish to be far from you, but because martyrdom for the sake of Allah beckoned to me after I had [long] been yearning for it.
"My beloved mother, forgive me. Allah will not be pleased with me unless you are pleased [with me]. My wish [to attain Paradise] will not be realized unless this condition is met, unless you [equip yourself with] patience and intercede with Allah on my behalf, so that He rewards me and accepts me as a martyred mujahid [who died] for His sake and for the sake of exalting Him, first of all, and also for the sake of avenging the blood of the martyrs in Palestine. Do not weep for me, but ululate in joy, for these are the nuptials of your martyred son...
"My dear sisters, forgive me. Do not forget what I asked of you a few days before I left you in order to assure the pleasure of Allah. Stand alongside our mother, and thus be counted among the sisters of [the Prophet's beloved wife] 'Aisha and the sisters of [seventh-century Arab poetess] Al-Khansaa.
"Oh my honorable family members... Receive the glad tidings of the Prophet, who said that a martyr can vouch for 70 of his family members [to enter Paradise]. May Allah guide you on the correct path and on the path of righteousness.
"My wish, O family members, is that nobody weep while accompanying me to Paradise as a groom [i.e. during the funeral]. On the contrary, hand out dates and ululate in joy during my martyrdom-nuptials. I conclude by saying that we shall soon meet again, in Paradise, Allah willing..."
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Zahran's will (Image: al-bld.com, August 20, 2017)
Despite Zahran's Statements In His Will, PA Officials Claim: Israel Executes People In Cold Blood; We Will Continue On The Path Of Struggle
Following the attack, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry rushed to accuse Israel of executing Zahran in cold blood, in spite of his explicit statements about his intent to achieve martyrdom. Upon handing over his body to his family, and later during his funeral, the governor of Tulkarm and his deputy, who are PA officials, stated that Israel's claims regarding the circumstances of his death were false, and stressed that the Palestinian people would continue on the path of struggle. It should be noted that, in contrast to these officials, the 'Alar municipality made no claims about how Zahran died, but praised him for his martyrdom and even called him a "hero" on its Facebook page.
PA Foreign Ministry: Israel Invents Loathsome Stories To Justify Executions
On August 19, 2017, the day after Zahran's attack and death the PA Foreign Ministry issued a statement claiming that Israel had "executed" him. The statement said: "The occupation authorities, as is their custom, justified the cold-blooded execution of young Zahran by means of loathsome stories of the sort they [spread] whenever [they carry out] a field execution, while knowing full well that young Zahran posed no danger to the occupation soldiers at the checkpoint."
Upon delivering Zahran's body to his family, on September 8, 2017, Tulkarm Governor 'Issam Abu Bakr conveyed condolences on behalf of President 'Abbas, and said that "[Israel's] targeting of civilians has become routine," and that this "only increases the determination of our people and its leadership to steadfastly [continue] on the road toward establishing our independent state with Jerusalem as its capital."
At the funeral, Tulkarm Deputy Governor Mustafa Takatka, who attended along with other PA officials, conveyed the governor's condolences to the family and added that the Palestinian people, under Abbas's leadership, would continue on the path of struggle. He said: "The crimes of the occupation – the daily killings, the settlements, the arrests, the building of the wall, and the racist expansion – will not deter our people and its leadership, headed by President Mahmoud 'Abbas, Abu Mazen, from continuing on the path of struggle and liberation, until we establish our independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."
Tulkarm Deputy Governor Mustafa Takatka speaking at Zahran's funeral (Image: Facebook.com/tulkgov, September 9, 2017)
'Alar Municipality Glorifies "Martyred Hero" Qatiba Zahran
In contrast to the PA officials mentioned above, the 'Alar municipality released a statement on the day of the attack praising Zahran and calling him a hero: "With every verse of heroism and honor, the 'Alar municipality, its head Fathi Abu Sa'ada, the municipal council members, the [municipality] workers and the city residents all congratulate the martyred hero Qatiba Ziyad Yousuf Zahran, who was martyred today [August 19, 2017] at the Za'atra checkpoint."
The 'Alar municipality's Facebook post: Zahran is a martyr and a hero. Source: Facebook.com/ellar.mun1, August 19, 2017.
 'Aisha, the Prophet Muhammad's third wife, is known in Islam as the "Mother of the Believers."
 Al-Khansaa is famous because instead of mourning her four sons who died in the Battle of Al-Qādisiyyah in 636, she praised Allah for honoring her with their martyrdom.
 Alwatanvoice.com, August 20, 2017.
 Palgov.ps, August 20, 2017.
 Wafa.ps, September 8, 2017.
 Facebook.com/tulkgov, September 9, 2017. The funeral was also attended by the Tulkarm mayor and by Palestinian National Initiative Party head Mustafa Barghouti. Alquds.com, September 9, 2017.
 Facebook.com/ellar.mun1, August 19, 2017.