The Israel government was not able to find the perpetrators, and the PIJ profited greatly from the event. On the Friday following the killing, “hundreds of worshippers at Jerusalems al-Aqsa mosque demonstrated their support for Islamic Jihad” for killing an innocent Israeli (Milton-Edwards, p. 140). The demonstrators (who were worshipping prior to being engaged in support for a cold-blooded killing) were chanting, “Allahu Akbar” — and according to a local newspaper police in Jerusalem said the “tone of the demonstrators was more religious than political” (Milton-Edwards, p. 140).
Given that vocal support by citizens, and its more visible presence in Palestine, the Islamic Jihad carried out a far more bold and brazen attack, mentioned earlier in this paper, tossing live hand grenades into a military ceremony at Jerusalems Western Wall. “Activists were willing to take significant risks,” Milton-Edwards wrote (p. 140). Moreover, by killing the father of one recruit and injuring scores of others (including civilians) the PIJ showed they were fearless “in the face of Israeli military might,” which attracted other radical Muslims to their cause. The Israeli authorities acted swiftly, rounding up “hundreds of Palestinians” that were suspects in the attack. In fact “a few young men” who were picked up by the Israeli military were held “incommunicado for forty-five days” and subjected to “savage torture” (Milton-Edwards, p. 140). Apparently one of those who was tortured confessed that the PIJ was receiving its instructions from Amman, Jordan.
The question of who was giving instructions to the Jerusalem faction of the Islamic Jihad was of great concern, naturally, to Israel, because Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) already had a reputation for violence against neighboring Israel and if the PIJ and PLO were cooperating, that would pose an additional threat to Israels security.
Martin Kramer writes in Walter Reichs book (Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind) that the Islamic Jihad has been quite active in Lebanon. The claim in this 1998 publication is that the entrenched radical Islamic group in Lebanon, the Hizballah, is leading the PIJ, providing support. “Western intelligence sources” believe that the Islamic Jihad as “a group of clandestine cells run by several of Hizballahs military commanders” (Kramer, 1998, p. 136). Hizballah is a notorious terrorist group that has an enormous influence in Lebanon.
Since Kramers essay is twelve years old, updating this paper with more contemporary information on Hizballah is worthy. On November 10, 2010, it was reported (www.debka.com) that the four top commanders for Hizballah have been indicted by the United Nations Special Tribunal for “the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in West Beirut.” Reportedly the special prosecutor for the UN tribunal, Daniel Bellemare, has “proof” that on the day of the assassination of the president “the four Hizballah officialshad set up a makeshift command center” from which they carried out the assassination (www.debka.com). Hizballah is an organization that is feared for its use of violence against Israel and the West, and it is on the FBIs list of dangerous terrorist organizations.
Kramer writes (p. 136) that since the Islamic Jihad and Hizballah had “ideological compatibility” at the time of the PIJ / Hizballah uniting, although Hizballah may have denied that they were helping PIJ, there was little doubt of their linking up to battle Israel. On page 137 Kramer notes that one of Hizballahs influential leaders, Husayn al-Musawi, has been “singled out in the media as one of the minds behind Islamic Jihad” — albeit al-Musawi denies that charge. In denying that he helped Islamic Jihad in Lebanon, al-Musawi does admit that Hizballah and the Islamic Jihad have attempted to get “the public” to “understand” that the Islamic Jihads action “was in the nature of a jihad, launched by the oppressed against the oppressors” (Kramer, p. 137).
Hizballah made sure that there were credible spiritual leaders in Lebanon to back the PIJs violent activities; indeed, “some of Lebanons foremost Shiite cleric, men respected and renowned for their learning in Islam and its incumbent obligations” (Kramer, p. 137). Given support by respected clerics (the equivalent of rabbis or priests), Islamic Jihad needed to give “little or no account of itself, and has generally preferred not to,” Kramer explains on page 137.
Meanwhile in Meir Hatinas book, Islam and Salvation in Palestine: The Islamic Jihad Movement, the author mentions that reading the Islamic Jihads “internal charter” one can see that albeit the PIJ is much smaller than Hamas, it is far more radical than Hamas. The PIJ sees Palestine as “sacred,” and sees that “armed struggle [is] the only means to liberate” Palestine. Their struggle, according to Hatina, is directed against “the triple heresy and oppression of the West, the Arab regimes, and Israel.” The PIJ praises martyrdom as a way to justify suicide bombings and totally rejects as out of hand any negotiation with Israel or other enemies of Islam.
In December, 2009, Tally Helfont edited a report published in the Foreign Policy Research Institute (for the Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism), likely one of most contemporary reports on the Islamic Jihad and their activities. The Palestinian version of Islamic Jihad has “enjoyed broad popular support” (Helfont, 2009, p. 1). Interestingly Helfont points out that the PIJ actually established a “cell” in the United States in 1988, and raised money through its propaganda about liberating Palestine. “The cell gained the PIJ numerous U.S. supporters and collected thousands of dollars towards its deadly enterprise,” Helfont explains on page 2 of the report. The FBI raided the PIJ cell in 1995 and arrested several PIJ members.
In 2005, the U.S. Government presented its case in court against PIJ (USA v. Al-Arian et al.), including evidence such as “conference speeches, publications, and solicitations” — proving that the PIJ actually used a humanitarian fundraising front to provide money for its nefarious deeds in the Middle East. After September 11, 2001, the U.S. (using the Patriot Act, among other tools) — thanks in part to being tipped off to charity scams vis-a-vis PIJ — investigated a number of Muslim charities operating in the U.S. To see if indeed these groups were funneling money to terrorist groups. While the war goes on between terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hizballah, PIJ — and Israel, the West, and other non-Muslim states — there seems to be no solution, no compromise, and no changes in hard-line thinking are possible. As for PIJ, this is the type of extremist organization that would stop at nothing to do damage to Israel — and that includes the possible use of nuclear weapons, should any of those heinous weapons become available to them. Those countries and cultures that find themselves in the crosshairs of the PIJ should take all possible precautions to protect their civilians, because it is clear from the literature that PIJ, as mentioned earlier, will embrace the most frightening and lethal weapons it can muster.
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