Palestinian Islamic Jihad: An Overview
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is one of the major militant groups operating in the Palestinian territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip. Founded in the late 1970s, the PIJ has been involved in numerous attacks against Israel and has been designated as a terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States, the European Union, and Canada.
The PIJ was established in 1979 by Fathi Shaqaqi and Abd al-Aziz Awda in Egypt. It was inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran and sought to create an Islamic Palestinian state by eliminating the state of Israel. Unlike Hamas, another significant Palestinian militant group, the PIJ does not have a political wing and focuses solely on its militant activities.
Ideology and Goals:
The primary goal of the PIJ is the establishment of an Islamic state in historic Palestine, encompassing present-day Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The group rejects any form of negotiation or peace process with Israel and believes in the liberation of Palestine through armed struggle.
Over the years, the PIJ has been responsible for several suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and other forms of violence against Israeli civilians and military personnel. Some of the most notable attacks include:
- The Tel Aviv bus 405 attack in 1989.
- The Beit Lid massacre in 1995.
- Multiple suicide bombings during the Second Intifada between 2000 and 2005.
The PIJ has been designated as a terrorist organization by various countries and international bodies. This designation has led to sanctions, asset freezes, and other measures aimed at curbing the group’s activities and funding.
The PIJ remains active, primarily in the Gaza Strip, and continues to pose a significant security challenge to Israel. While it is not as influential as Hamas in the Palestinian political landscape, the PIJ maintains a significant militant capability and has thousands of fighters under its command.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, with its radical ideology and commitment to armed struggle, remains a key player in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Understanding its history, motivations, and activities is crucial for anyone seeking to comprehend the complexities of the Middle East.
(Note: Due to technical issues, images and referral links could not be provided directly in this post. Readers are encouraged to conduct further research on reputable news websites and academic sources for a more comprehensive understanding of the topic.)
- BBC Profile on Palestinian Islamic Jihad
- Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Backgrounder on PIJ
- The European Council on Foreign Relations on PIJ