Portraits of Palestinian Resistance: Ghaleb Rabah ‘Allan

Rima Merriman, a Palestinian American living in Ramallah, wrote this series, “Portraits of Palestinian Resistance”, telling the stories of the four Palestinians killed and one of the 57 wounded in Ramallah on 24 May 2006, as they struggled to protect a Palestinian activist and political prisoner from an Israeli undercover unit.


Mourners march in Ghaleb’s funeral. (Athens Photo Center of Ramallah)

Ghaleb Rabah ‘Allan (26)

Ghaleb’s father, Rabah (48) worked in Israel as a laborer from 1977 until 2000, when he was no longer allowed to work there. He now has a job in a factory that manufactures solar heating tanks. He has provided well for his large family, his wife Mayada, his two oldest married sons, both waiters in Ramallah and living with him in the family compound. He has one married daughter who lives in Safa. Another is a sophomore at Birzeit University studying psychology. His five youngest children are all in school.

Ghaleb’s mother, right, and her relative. (Rima Merriman)

His third child, Ghaleb, is now gone, martyred in the Israeli raid in downtown Ramallah on May 24. The lovely village of ‘Ur Al Tahta, from which Israel confiscated 386 dunums of agricultural land last year (and an additional 1170 dunums from neighboring villages) in order to build a settler road is plastered with wall graffiti from both Fateh and Hamas - words that affirm the reward for Ghaleb’s patriotism, courage and faith:

“Martyrdom is a crown worn only by those of noble spirit. Congratulations to Ghaleb.” – Hamas and Fateh’s message on the left of photo: “At a time when the conspiracy against our people and their just cause is tightening its hold, Fateh movement renews its covenant to follow in the steps of its martyrs. –Fateh” (Rima Merriman)

“With blood, Oh Ghaleb, your name has been carved on the list of martyrs.” - Fateh

“Oh, mother, if I die while my arms are holding up my flag, do not believe that I died in the flower of my youth.” - Fateh

“Ghaleb did not die of bullets, but rather bullets died in his body.” - Fateh

“Congratulations to you, Ghaleb, for you are among martyrs and believers.” - Hamas

“With pride Hamas movement mourns Ghaleb ‘Allan, martyred hero, asking God to house him in the vastness of his heavens.” - Hamas

“Martyrdom is a crown worn only by those of noble spirit. Congratulations to Ghaleb.” - Hamas.

Next to this is Fateh’s: “At a time when the conspiracy against our people and their just cause is tightening its hold, Fateh movement renews its covenant to follow in the steps of its martyrs.” - Fateh

The Israeli order to seize Beir ‘Ur Al Tahta’s lands in April 2005 says the following: “According to my authorities as a Military Chief Commander in the Region of Judea and Samaria, and as I believe that it is imperative for military reasons due to the special security situation in the region, I announce by that the above mentioned lands are seized for military reasons. The IDF seize the lands and have an absolute control over it that is given to the officer of the central command officer of lands who is responsible in the ministry of defense.”

Mourners march in Ghaleb’s funeral. (Athens Photo Center of Ramallah)

The whole village gathered at Ghaleb’s funeral with the men and boys walking in the procession From Ghaleb’s home to the mosque and then to the cemetery and with the women and girls looking on from windows.

Mourners gather for Ghaleb’s funeral. (Athens Photo Center of Ramallah)

When Ghaleb was in 6th grade, he joined the Quranic school at Al Da’wa Mosque as a student. But although he was able to learn the Quran by heart and won first prize in recitation over contestants from all over the West Bank, he found the discipline too strict and quit after two years. He went back to regular school but did not finish. He sat for the Tawjihi (secondary certificate) only recently by studying independently. Ghaleb made a living working with plaster décor and earlier with the PA.

On a small plot of land down the street from his father’s house, Ghaleb, who was engaged to be married, was building a house in fits and starts. He kept meticulous records of his expenses. Now the poster commemorating his martyrdom decorates his unfinished house.

Ghaleb’s posters on the garage door of his unfinished house. (Rima Merriman)

When Ghaleb heard the news of the Israeli raid at Al Manarah, he was visiting with his brothers in Ramallah at the restaurant where they worked. He immediately decided to join the fight. His brothers tried hard to dissuade him, as did the driver of the car who took him in the direction of Al Manarah, but he believed it was his duty to go. For a while, his brothers kept in touch with him by phone and described to him what was going on, as they watched events unfold on Al Jazeera. Then they lost contact. People who saw him get hit reported that he died on his way to hospital, but not before he gave “al shahada” - i.e., gave witness that there is only one God and Mohammad is his Prophet.


Rima Merriman is a Palestinian-American living in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Related Links

  • Summer Time and the Living’s Uneasy, Zachary Wales (26 May 2006)
  • Indiscriminate and Excessive Use of Force: Four Palestinians Killed During Arrest Raid, Press Release, Al-Haq (24 May 2006)