August 6, 2022 | The Hill

Disrupting Palestinian Islamic Jihad a smart play by Israel

August 6, 2022 | The Hill

Disrupting Palestinian Islamic Jihad a smart play by Israel

Excerpt

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a military campaign Friday against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a U.S.-designated terrorist group, in Gaza. The campaign, known as Operation Breaking Dawn, is designed to decapitate the Gaza wing of Iran-aligned PIJ, which has held large swaths of the Israeli population hostage for the past four days by threatening attacks against Israel.

The PIJ threats began earlier this week after the IDF arrested Bassem al-Saadi, the leader of the group’s West Bank wing, in Jenin. Israel alleges that al-Saadi not only spearheaded an ongoing military buildup of PIJ operatives in the West Bank, but also served as a driving force for radicalization in the region. Israel wanted to put a stop to al-Saadi’s efforts but could not rely on the Palestinian Authority to carry out the task: The presence of Hamas and PIJ in Jenin has made the city an inhospitable place for Palestinian Authority security forces.

Following al-Saadi’s arrest, PIJ placed its fighters on high alert. In a haphazard roadside press conference, PIJ militants announced in Hebrew that they were awaiting instructions from the PIJ’s central leadership in Gaza. They added that if PIJ launches a war from the coastal enclave, they would do the same in the West Bank. Operation Breaking Dawn aims to deter such a conflict.

Enia Krivine is the senior director of the Israel Program and the National Security Network at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Enia on Twitter at @EKrivine. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

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Issues:

Israel Jihadism Palestinian Politics