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August 10, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10132

Journalist Close To Hamas: Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Should Not Have Allowed Itself To Be Drawn Into Confrontation With Israel

August 10, 2022
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 10132

During the recent Israel-Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) conflict, Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, elected to remain on the sidelines and not directly join the fighting. This move exposed it to criticism from PIJ supporters from both within and beyond the Palestinian arena. As of this writing, Hamas has not addressed this criticism, stressing unity in the ranks and the coordination among the Palestinian resistance factions in the framework of the joint operations room in Gaza.[1]

Taking an unusual tack, Yousuf Rizqa, former adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, wrote in his August 9, 2022 column in the Hamas-affiliated Filastin daily, under the headline "Conclusions and Lessons Learned from the August 5, 2022 Campaign," that the PIJ had made a mistake by allowing itself to be drawn into a confrontation at a time and place of Israel's choosing, thus handing the latter significant advantages. He added that threats from PIJ members – that were never even carried out – had been used as a pretext by Israel to justify its campaign against Gaza. Additionally, he said, the fact that some Palestinian factions had refrained from participating in the conflict had divided the ranks of the resistance, which also served Israel's interest.


Yousuf Rizqa (Source: Alresalah.ps, April 15, 2014)

The following are translated excerpts from Yousuf Rizqa's column in the Filastin daily:

"The recent campaign, which the Zionist enemy imposed on Gaza and specifically on the PIJ, lasted three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). It began on Friday afternoon, August 5, 2022, and concluded at 11:30 on Sunday night [August 7], with the cessation of fighting, a return to calm, and the opening of the crossing points under the supervision of Egypt – which is doing all it can to free [the prisoners Khalil] Al-Awawdeh and Bassam Al-Saadi [whom the PIJ claims Israel agreed to release in the ceasefire deal].

"The campaign did not last long, and not all the resistance factions were directly involved, even though [their members] were present in the joint [operations] room to oversee the decision to fight [Israel], as was mentioned by members of the leadership.

"The following lessons may be learned from this campaign:

  1. "The enemy initiated the campaign with a surprise bombardment on the most important military figure in the PIJ's [military wing, the Al-Quds] Brigades.[2] This attack on an home in the center of Gaza City killed him and his entourage. This means that this individual was under serious and accelerated Israeli surveillance, and under supportive surveillance by agents specifically tracking this leader, so that within minutes the enemy had won half the campaign.

  2. "A campaign initiated by the enemy with the first attack is generally a painful blow that plays into the hands of the enemy, who has defined target, timing, and location, and who controls the territory of the campaign. Thus, it would be a mistake to agree [to fight in] a campaign with these characteristics out of a desire to avenge the deaths of the martyrs [killed] in the surprise attack, and to deter the enemy. This is because the outcome [of such a campaign] will be in the enemy's favor, and because the clashes are usually based on the concept of 'hit and run,' and 'hit and run again' – [when] the decision to thwart the enemy's planning [and to refrain from engagement with it] is among the wisest of decisions, [including] military decisions, that are needed in the field, and is in no way prompted by fear and cowardice.

  3. "The resistance factions' threats, that were published in the media, were received by the enemy, who used them to serve its attacks and its campaign against Gaza. It [the enemy] presented them in [its] domestic arena, and in the international arena, as a pretext for its aggression and for its decision to launch a surprise preemptive operation. The issue of threats should be reexamined, because it is a double-edged sword – especially if they are not followed by military action within a few hours [at most]... We have already learned that deeds have more impact than words, and that [real] strength lies in the force of the resistance that the enemy sees and not in the threats that it hears.

  4. "In this campaign, the enemy apparently implemented the motto 'divide and conquer,' and a segment of the citizens seems to have gone along with this strategy when it praised the [Al-Quds Brigades] while condemning the other [resistance factions for refraining from joining the fighting]. This gave the enemy what it called a winning card. The principle is to prevent the enemy from taking advantage of such an opportunity [of internal Palestinian divisions] and to ruin this [enemy] strategy by sticking to statements released by the joint operations room...[3]

  5. "The enemy chose the name 'Breaking Dawn" for its operation in advance – hinting to Gaza that the campaign [would be] long and ongoing. [This name] has a measure of manipulation, as part of the [enemy's] military plan. What is obvious is that the PIJ did not name this campaign, as it had previous campaigns,[4] so the name chosen by the enemy, Breaking Dawn, became the only one that comes up in Google and new [social] media. It would have been more appropriate for the PIJ to choose its own name for the operation...

"These are my personal conclusions from this operation and the previous campaigns, and I hope they are helpful and appropriate. I present them for the sake of Allah, not as criticism of anyone. My success rests solely in the hands of Allah. 'Allah's will always prevails, but most people do not know (Quran 12:21).'[5]

 

[1] The joint operations room of the Palestinian resistance factions, an umbrella organization that unites all the military wings in the Gaza Strip, is led by Hamas's military wing, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.

[2] The reference is to Tayseer Al-Ja'bari, who was the northern Gaza commander of the PIJ military wing.

[3] The joint operations room released only one statement, when the fighting began. T.me/resistFactions, August 5, 2022.

[4] This is not accurate. On the second day of fighting, the PIJ's Al-Quds Brigade released a statement naming the fighting "Operation 'Unity of the Arenas.'"  T.me/sarayaps, August 6, 2022.

[5] Filastin (Gaza Strip), August 9, 2022.

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