Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Masked fighters from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's military wing "Saraya Al-Quds" or "Jerusalem Brigades" take part in a military drill.

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group is the second-largest terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas. Like Hamas, PIJ does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and believes that violence and terrorism are the only way to “liberate all Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.”


Like Hamas, in the past three decades PIJ has carried out thousands of terror attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings.

Recently, the PIJ wished to remind us again of its dangerous and poisonous ideology. This reminder came in the form of a new “political document” published by the Iranian-backed terror group in the Gaza Strip.

The document contains important information about the group’s strategy to destroy Israel and provides insight into the role Islam plays in the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Some may argue that there is nothing new in the PIJ document. However, PIJ is not just another Palestinian “resistance” faction, as some Middle East experts tend to describe it. Rather, it is one of the most dangerous Palestinian terror groups. It aspires to eliminate Israel and kill as many Jews as possible.

If and when Hamas is ever removed from power in the Gaza Strip, PIJ will most likely seize control of the coastal enclave, where nearly two million Palestinians live.

Western journalists often ignore the power and threat of PIJ, mainly because the representatives of the terror group rarely give interviews to the foreign media.

Besides, it is easier for Western journalists to take the short trip from Jerusalem to Ramallah to interview a Palestinian Authority official, who uses his or her fluent English to lie about the Palestinians’ desire for peace and coexistence with Israel.

Western journalists rarely, if ever, present to their readers and viewers what the terrorists preach to their own people.

That is precisely why there is a need to bring the main points of the PIJ document to the attention of the international media and decision-makers around the world. The PIJ is a major player in the Palestinian arena, and its political and military power can be ignored only at great peril.

Here is what the preface to the terror group’s document states:

“Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian people, from the early days of history. Palestine is an integral part of the Arab and Islamic homeland, and it was usurped by the Zionist Jews with the support and encouragement of Western colonialist powers.”

Explaining the timing of the publication of its document, PIJ said:

“To maintain a clear vision and the unity of our goals, away from intellectual chaos dominating the Palestinian landscape, Palestinian Islamic Jihad saw the need to formulate this document to explain and affirm the intellectual basis and features governing its jihad and policies.”

Translation: the PIJ fears that it has fallen off the world’s radar. It worries that its ideology and plans to destroy Israel may be lost amid the “intellectual chaos” plaguing the Palestinian arena.

Defining its ultimate mission, PIJ says in its new document:

“Our number-one priority and main task is to carry out the duty of jihad and resistance to liberate Palestine. We are an Islamic national liberation movement and part of the Palestinian people’s and Muslim’s jihad against invaders and colonialists. We see ourselves as being part of the general Islamic trend in the world, which regards Islam as the source of our power and pride.”

Which “Islamic trend” the Palestinian terror group is talking about is not clear. Does it referring to the Islamic State terror group, ISIS, which has slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent civilians, mostly Muslims, in the past few years? Or perhaps the PIJ is referring to Al Qaeda, the murderous terror group founded by Osama bin Laden?

What is certain, however, is that PIJ is not referring to the Muslim Brotherhood organization. Why? Because PIJ believes that Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and policies are too “moderate” compared with its genocidal agenda. Ironically, the PIJ views the Muslim Brotherhood as being too “pragmatic,” largely because of the latter’s failure to engage in a worldwide jihad against Jews and all infidels.

The PIJ document, which the Western media is doing a fine job ignoring, states:

“Palestine is an Arab, Islamic land, where the Arabs and Muslims possess natural religious and historic rights. It is forbidden to give it up or compromise it under any pretext.”

The Jews, the document emphasizes, “have no right in the land of Palestine.” It says that the fact that some Arabs and Muslims have recognized Israel does not give the Jews any right to the land.

“The Palestinian people’s right to all their lands and homeland, Palestine, is a comprehensive right that can’t be fragmented. This includes our right to own the land, our right to resist and liberate it, and our right to return to it and live in it. No one is entitled to give up the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland. This is a non-negotiable issue.”

The PIJ document views Israel as a Zionist colonialist project imposed on Arabs and Muslims by Western powers. Revealingly, these are the same words that Israel’s secular peace partner and the darling of the West, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, recently used in a speech he delivered in Ramallah, during a conference of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council:

“The Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region. They asked Holland, which has the world’s largest fleet, to move the Jews. Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with the Jews.”

Abbas and PIJ also share more of the same views. In its document, the Palestinian terror group states:

“The Zionist entity is a functional colonialist entity and a tool of the [Western] project to seize control and dominance over Palestine. The source of this entity’s power lies with Western parties, especially the US.”

The PIJ document defines the conflict with Israel as an “existential conflict, and not a border conflict.” The Palestinian cause, it says,

“is not about the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, or parts of them. Rather, it is the issue of the occupation of the entire land of Palestine, from the river to the sea. It is the central cause of all Arabs and Muslims, and not the Palestinians alone.”

In its document, PIJ outlines its plan to achieve its goal through “jihad and resistance against the Zionist enemy, with all means and methods, first and foremost the armed struggle.” The armed struggle, it adds, is the “main method and strategy in our struggle.”

For those who do not know, “armed struggle” is the euphemism for all forms terrorism, including rocket attacks and suicide bombings. The “armed struggle” also means that a Palestinian terrorist can storm the home of a Jewish family and murder women and children as they prepare dinner.

The PIJ document, which has been distributed among the group’s followers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, also praises suicide bombings against Israel by describing them as the “most noble acts of self-defense.”

The document also warns Arabs and Muslims against recognizing Israel’s right to exist or establishing any ties with it. “We reject all forms of normalization with the Israeli enemy by any Arab or Muslim,” it stresses.

Finally, the document exposes the Palestinian terror group’s plan for “real peace” in the Middle East. This “real peace,” according to the jihadi group, can be achieved by eliminating Israel after “liberating Palestine, from the river to the sea, and after the original owners of the land return to their homes.”

This genocidal “peace” plan appears to be shared by other Palestinian terror groups, such as Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and even certain parts of Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

The peace they seek is one that would result in the total destruction of Israel and the expulsion of all Jews from the Middle East. As the remarks of Abbas and PIJ show, Palestinians see Israel only as an alien body that was imposed upon Arabs and Muslims by imperialist Westerners, and not as people who have lived on that land for more than 3,000 years.

The PIJ document, which serves as the group’s “national charter,” is a valuable text. Every word in the document reflects the true sentiments on the Arab and Islamic street, especially with regards to recognizing Jews’ rights and history.

This is a document that is currently being taught in Islamic Jihad training bases, and schools and mosques. It is a document that will help raise another generation of Palestinians on the glorification of terrorism and anti-Semitism.

This is a document that deserves to be placed on the desks of all those Westerners who continue to tell us that peace is possible and that Israel just needs to make more concessions to achieve that goal.


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Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East. This article originally appeared on the Gatestone Institute website (