Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer, one of the leaders of a young generation of authors from Gaza who took the gamble of writing in English to tell their story, was killed in an Israeli strike, his relatives announced overnight from Thursday to Friday.
“The assassination of Refaat is tragic, painful and scandalous. It’s a huge loss,” his friend Ahmed Alnaouq commented on X. His death was due to deadly raids that took place Thursday evening in the northern Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas administration's Health Ministry.
“My heart is broken, my friend and colleague Refaat Alareer was killed with his family a few minutes ago (...) I can't believe it,” his friend, the Gazan poet, wrote on Facebook Mosab Abu Toha. “Rest in peace Refaat Alareer. We will continue to be guided by your wisdom, today and for eternity,” author and journalist Ramzy Baroud testified on X. The American specialist site Literary Hub also paid tribute to him.
Professor of English literature at the Islamic University of Gaza, where he notably taught Shakespeare, Refaat Alareer was one of the co-founders of the “We are not numbers” project, pairing authors from Gaza to “mentors” abroad who help them write stories in English about their reality. He edited the book Gaza writes back, chronicles of life in Gaza by young Palestinian authors, and published Gaza unsilenced, not translated into French.
In response to the October 7 attack by Hamas on its soil, Israel launched a vast operation to “annihilate” this Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip and classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. This offensive left more than 17,000 dead, the vast majority of them women, children and adolescents, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.
A few days after the start of the Israeli ground offensive, Refaat Alareer said he refused to leave the north of the Gaza Strip, the epicenter of the fighting at the time. He had published on