The Iranian Proxy in the Palestinian Territories–Who is the Islamic Jihad?

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is a terrorist organization that operates in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria. Their stated goals include an uncompromised armed struggle against Israel with the aim of destroying it and the establishment of a religious Islamic state within the 1948 borders. The Islamic Jihad is considered one of the closest Palestinian terrorist organizations to the Iranian regime, which gives the Islamic Jihad significant financial and logistical support.

History of Terrorism
The Islamic Jihad was founded in 1979 by Palestinian fundamentalist students Fathi Shaqaqi and Ramadan Shalah, as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2003, the “Manifesto of the Islamic Jihad in Palestine” was uncovered by U.S. investigators amid the arrest of the group’s North American head Sami al-Arian in 2003, the manifesto affirms that “the Jihad solution and the martyrdom style as the only choice for liberation” and rejects “any peaceful solution to the Palestinian cause.”

Over the years, the Islamic Jihad has been involved in almost every wave of Palestinian violence and terrorism. They were responsible for the escalation of violence during the First Intifada, carried out terrorist attacks in order to disrupt negotiations of the Oslo Accords, and in line with their religious fundamentalism, started murdering opponents and forcing a strict Islamic lifestyle on the Palestinian civilian populations in the areas in Gaza they controlled, beside Hamas.
The Second Intifada
During the Second Intifada (between the years 2000-2005), the Islamic Jihad planned, orchestrated and executed some of the most horrific terror attacks targeting the Israeli civilian population. One of their deadliest terror attacks was in 2003, the suicide bombing at “Maxim” restaurant, in which 21 civilians, including the elderly and young children, were murdered. The terrorist attack was planned by the Islamic Jihad, which viewed the deaths of the civilians as a great operational success.

Islamic Jihad Designated as a Terrorist Organization by Multiple Nations

The Islamic Jihad is recognized as a terrorist organization by, among others, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, and Australia.

The Islamic Jihad today

Today, the Islamic Jihad is the second-largest terrorist organization active in the Gaza Strip, after Hamas. Unlike Hamas, the Islamic Jihad is solely a militant group, not a governmental authority. Its singular purpose is to inflict terror by any means in order to harm Israelis.

The Islamic Jihad also has a wide network of terrorist cells inside the Palestinian areas of Judea and Samaria, mainly in the cities of Nablus and Jenin. These cells often include children, which the Islamic Jihad recruits from a young age. The leadership of the Islamic Jihad uses those cells to plan and execute terror attacks against soldiers and civilians alike, putting both Israeli and uninvolved Palestinian civilians in danger.
Islamic Jihad's Terrorist Training for Kids
The Islamic Jihad invests heavily in the next generation of terrorists. Over the years the Islamic Jihad has run “summer camps'' for children which draw as many as 10,000 participants per session in both Gaza and Judea and Samaria. The camps’ activities include wielding AK-47s, planting landmines, and mock operations to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Suicide bombers who massacred Israeli civilians are also glorified as heroes in the camps.

An Islamic Jihad official said about the educational content in the summer camps: “We teach the children the truth. How the Jews persecuted the prophets and tortured them. We stress that the Jews killed and slaughtered Arabs and Palestinians every chance they got... As long as Jews remain here, between the [Jordan] river and the sea, they will be our enemy and we will continue to pursue and kill them”.

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