(New York, N.Y.) — A ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) took effect Sunday evening, bringing to an end three days of fighting that amounted to the most violent conflict since last year’s 11-day war between Hamas and Israel. PIJ, which is dedicated to eradicating Israel and establishing an autonomous Islamic Palestinian state in the lands currently comprising Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, fired more than 1,100 rockets before the ceasefire was reached. PIJ, however, has threatened to resume its attacks and break the agreement if Israel does not release Palestinian prisoners.
Palestinian officials in Gaza reported that dozens of Palestinians were killed in the fighting including Khaled Mansour, senior commander of PIJ’s Southern Gaza Division, and Tayseer al-Jabari, the senior commanding officer of PIJ’s Northern Gaza Division. Israeli officials report that 20 percent of PIJ’s rockets struck sites within Gaza.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad resource, please click here.
Currently the second-largest terrorist group in Gaza, PIJ believes that the land of Palestine is consecrated for Islam, that Israel usurped Palestine, and, therefore, that Israel is an affront to God and Islam, making Palestine’s re-conquest is a holy task. Accordingly, PIJ refuses to negotiate with Israel, rejects a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has carried out numerous terror attacks against Israeli targets and interests.
PIJ has been responsible for suicide attacks and hundreds of rockets against Israeli civilian centers, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Israeli civilians and soldiers. While PIJ has signed on to wider Palestinian ceasefires with Israel, it is highly unlikely the group will ever renounce terrorism as liberating Palestine through violent jihad is a central tenant of PIJ’s ideology.