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Hebrew U Prof: Abduction Bolsters Global Jihad

Jewish Press exclusive: Hebrew University professor talks about the implications of the abduction on Palestinian society, global Jihad.
More questions than answers: IDF troops search for missing boys

More questions than answers: IDF troops search for missing boys
Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90

As IDF soldiers continued the largest manhunt in Israeli history Monday, there are more questions about the abduction of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel than answers. Could there be a relationship to recent gains by global jihad groups? What will the effect of the current crisis be on the Palestinian Unity Government? 

The Jewish Press spoke to Dr. Moshe Maoz, professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for an exclusive view on the current crisis.

JP: Is it possible that there is a connection between the recent ISIS victories  in Iraq and Syria, and the current abduction crisis Israel is now facing? 

MM: I don’t know if there is a direct connection. But these groups certainly draw strength and inspiration from the abduction. Look, there is no question that extremist groups are gaining strength around the region – in Syria and Iraq, as you know, but also in Turkey, Lebanon, and even inside Israel and the Golan Heights. So whoever is responsible for kidnapping the boys, it is certainly an additional ‘shot in the arm’ for groups like al-Qaeda and the ISIS. 

That sounds like you aren’t sure this was done by Hamas. 

Look, this is the Middle East. Anything could be. There are certainly strong reasons to suspect Hamas – who kidnapped Gilad Shalit? And not only Gilad Shalit: Since the Shalit deal, they have been threatening and promising to kidnap more Israelis. On the other hand, no organization has taken responsibility for the abduction, and that is not typical of Hamas. 

So what are some other possibilities? 

There are almost endless possibilities. The attack could have been carried out by a Hamas splinter faction, looking to torpedo the unity deal with the Palestinian Authority. It could well be an al-Qaeda cell operating in Judea and Samaria. Don’t forget, that’s what happened in Iraq and Syria – eventually, the “real” Muslim extremists joined al-Qaeda, and even more extreme groups. This possibility is very bad for Israel. There are levels of extremism amongst radical Islam

There’s even a possibility that an unaffiliated group kidnapped the kids, just to hurt Israel. At the same, one thing is pretty clear: the operation was sophisticated and well-thought out. They needed to prepare hideaways, escape routes and more.

What are the implications of the abduction for internal Palestinian politics? 

That’s a good quesiton. I’d say it was almost certainly carried out by a one or another Palestinian group. The question, then, is whether they did this to  break up the Palestinian Unity Government, or to create a wave of Palestinian solidarity against Israel. 

You’ve got to remember: For Palestinians, the issue of prisoners in Israeli jails is huge. It is a national issue, not just a Hamas one.” We’ve all read about the prisoners who are hunger striking – some of these people are administrative detainees, who haven’t been charged or tried. 

We have been reading warnings about a third “intifada” for years. Could we be looking at the opening shots of that war?

Absolutely. You’ve got to understand Palestinian society a little bit. People are already frustrated, by the failure of the peace process, by the failure to win the release of prisoners in Israeli jails, by ongoing restrictions to freedom of movement. It’s an issue that creates a remarkable type of social cohesion. 

It is obviously not the same situation, but I was a member of the Etzel (pre-state militia, called the Irgun Zvai Leumi, or national military organization, led by Menachem Begin). At that time, the British took so many of us hostage that it created a terrific sense of solidarity. To a large degree, that’s the way they view us. 

So you have to be careful. You can’t let an incident like this go unnoticed, but you’ve got to be careful. Remember, many Palestinians already feel hopeless.  If Israel’s response is too harsh, it could certainly push the society over an edge that would not be good, for us or for them.

About the Author: Meir is a news writer for JewishPress.com - and he loves his job.


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12 Responses to “Hebrew U Prof: Abduction Bolsters Global Jihad”

  1. Can’t have any relationships that don’t involve conflict and force when dealing with sociopaths, as the Palestinians are, based on their behavior. Sometimes you just have to neutralize them

  2. And your Surprised??? I am not.

  3. Obama paying millions of dollars and handing over five top ranking terrorists in trade for one US deserter (Bergdahl) really boosted jihad kidnappings for ransom.

  4. Obama paying millions of dollars and handing over five top ranking terrorists in trade for one US deserter (Bergdahl) really boosted jihad kidnappings for ransom.

  5. Obama is under your bed, he’s in your closet, no, he’s reading your Facebook!!!

  6. Haley Chace says:

    It also bolsters US Citizen support!

  7. Haley Chace says:

    From this day forward all captured Taliban , Al Qaida and Traitors are to be castrated by Order of The Court of U S opinion!

  8. Haley Chace says:

    Complicity shall be treated as the same offense.

  9. Haley Chace says:

    Any party found guilty of Beheading or Brutalizing an American, an Israeli or other America Ally shall be met with equal Justice

  10. Haley Chace says:

    Angels are Charioting!…

  11. Haley Chace says:

    We will expect no quarter … We will give none!… Chew on that stance a bit!…. And remember this… If those boys aren’t home alive and well in 3Days … You will be wondering ….

  12. Haley Chace says:

    When and where we will come for you!

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