Zakaria Al-Zubeidi 24, a refugee from Jenin Refugee Camp and the leader of Al-Aqsa Brigades (the military wing of Fatah), insists that the Brigades’ refusal to abide to the truce was neither a tactical step nor a challenge to the authority of President Arafat. “It is a stand for principles, which is neither negotiable nor subject to blackmail” he said.

Al-Zubiedi, in an unexpected move, rejected the truce agreement even when it was accepted by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah. “We in Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, because of our past experience, will not provide another chance for the occupation to kill our activists and commit

crimes against our people under the umbrella of the truce agreement” he said.

When asked about differences within the Brigades, he said: “The acceptance of the truce announced in Gaza represents the position of Gaza Brigades only. The Brigades that I am leading in Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilyh, and Jenin see no space for a truce with the enemy if our conditions are not met.”

To explain why the Brigades rejected the truce agreement Al-Zubeidi said “We rejected the truce in order not to betray the sacrifices of the Palestinian People, the pain of the prisoners, and the Martyrs killed defending their cause. “

Al Zubeidi believes that Palestinians are facing both “a severe war and a huge conspiracy…Our acts and stands are in line with the Palestinian national rights, and we warn against any crossing of Palestinian National redlines.”

When asked about his motives, Al-Zubeidi replied “To protect the tremendous sacrifice that our people gave and are still giving, we have to continue with the struggle. We are not seeking territory, oil or gold, we are seeking freedom and dignity. I want to see smiles on the lips of the children in the camp.”

“I want to see the dream of martyr friends, Ala’a Al-Sabbagh, Ziad El-‘Amer and his brother Taha and his mother come true. We will fight to make it true no matter what the cost will be. If our aim was to bargain for a better leadership position, it would have been a lot easier. However, our dream is bigger and nobler than individual gains” Al- Zubeidi added.

Al-Zubiedi insists that the Brigades stand does not form any challenge to President Arafat. “Our first condition to accept the truce is the immediate and unconditional lift of the siege on the President” he said.

Our life was polluted by the Occupation

Al-Zubeidi, the Palestinian most wanted by Israeli Intelligence, enjoys the trust and respect of the people and the leaders of the main Palestinian factions in Jenin Refugee camp. He descends from a family with a long history in the struggle against the occupation.  Al-Zubeidi

grew up knowing that his father and his uncle Jamal were locked inside Israeli prisons. “I lived moments of sadness and pain seeing my mom splitting her life between the prison and home. You can’t imagine how hard life was. To me the cause was clearly the occupation.”

IMEMC correspondent met Al-Zubeidi in Jenin refugee camp cemetery. Al-Zubeidi was in a quick visit to the graves of his mother and brother.

When asked about his personal life Al Zubeidi pointed at the grave of his mother and said “These are not memories, this is my life that was polluted by the occupation. March 2002, an Israeli army unit killed my mother, Smaira, 50, in cold blood inside our home. One month later, my brother Taha was killed a month prior to his wedding. Around the same time, my brother Yahia was arrested and then sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. In addition to all of this, our house was shelled several times and destroyed and many of my friends were assassinated.”

Al-Zubeidi added “With all of this happening, they still want me to commit to a truce and give up the fight and waste our rights and send our sacrifice to the trash. No way, Israel has to release all prisoners, end the siege, and withdraw its troops. When this happens, a truce becomes possible.”

Where is the truce?

Despite his tough deeds and extreme stands, and continued threats to his life, Al-Zubeidi recently married and is expecting his first child in few weeks.

When he was asked where his “extreme” stands will lead, Al_Zubeidi protested against the usage of the word “extreme” and said: “My stands are those of each child, woman, and man in Palestine. I believe that our way is the way to peace, not the Road Map.”

Al-Zubeidi went back to the truce issue and inquired ‘What did the truce offer us? Did it stop threats and the war of Sharon and Mofaz and their campaigns against us?”

“We demand an immediate end for all the massacres and the death. If they want a truce, let it be, but under our conditions and with our own decision, it should not be forced on us.”

When asked why he won’t give the truce a chance, Al-Zubeidi answered: “Frankly speaking, where is the truce they are talking about? Closure, destruction, arrests and crimes never ceased. During the last week, the occupation forces assassinated one of the leaders of the Alaqsa Martyrs brigades in Qalqilia, invaded Jenin and Nablus and

Ramallah, and arrested scores of Palestinians.”

“Where are the USA and the world that are putting pressure on our people and the PA to accept the truce while Israel is violating all the rules every minute? How can we talk about truce while our women give birth on checkpoints and roadblocks, while our farmers are unable to reach their fields? Does the truce mean that we should accept the occupation and surrender?” Al-Zubeidi said, while walking away and leaving the meeting place.