Islamic Jihad severs ties with Hamas

The Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza announced June 23 that it was temporarily suspending ties with Hamas, accusing Gaza authorities of being responsible for the death of one of the group’s members. Raed Qassim Jundeyeih, a member of Islamic Jihad’s militant wing, the al-Quds Brigades, died after being shot a day earlier by Hamas police officers. Police had gone to an address in Gaza City June 22 to deliver summons orders to a member of the Jundeyeih family. Upon approaching the home, members of the family opened fire at the officers and Jundeyeih was wounded in the ensuing gunfight.

Islamic Jihad told Ma’an News Agency that members affiliated with Hamas were responsible for the death, describing Jundeyeih’s death as a “favor” for Israel, whether intentional or not. Tensions further increased after a member of Islamic Jihad was hit by a jeep driven by a Hamas member during the funeral procession of Jundeyeih. Islamic Jihad said that Jundeyeih was wanted by Israeli authorities for being the head of a rocket-firing unit.  “Despite losing this great martyr, our only option remains to resist our common enemy which is the Zionist enemy and the powers of injustice that support it,” the group added.
From Ma’an News Agency, June 24


  1. Israeli air-strikes on Gaza Strip
    Israeli airstrikes hit targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks on southern Israel on June 24. Two weapons storage facilities in central Gaza and a rocket launch site in southern Gaza were hit, the Israeli military said in a statement. Palestinian sources said several F16 warplanes shelled four sites belonging to the military wing of Islamic Jihad, Saraya al-Quds, in Rafah. Hours earlier, six rockets were launched at southern Israel; two were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system near Ashkelon, and four others landed in open areas, causing no damage. The exchanges threaten a fragile six-month cease-fire between Israel and Gaza. (JTFJPNYTMa’an News Agency, June 24)

  2. Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt drawn into Syrian war
    We noted a few months back that Hamas has definitely dropped Assad, but now it appears that Fatah has definitely not. Ma’an News reports that Hamas leader and Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Aziz Dweik was berated by both Fatah and (more predictably) the PFLP-GC for recent comments in support of the Syrian revolution. In an interview with the Algerian daily Echorouk, Dweik actually said supporting the rebels took priority over Palestine’s struggle against Israeli occupation. How interesting that the Islamist Hamas is taking a more progressive line on Syria than the secular Fatah.

    Hamas also issued a public call for Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria and return to “resisting Israeli occupaiton.” The statement asserted: “The Syrian people have the right to realize their…aspirations for freedom and dignity.” 

    Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ prime minister in Gaza, said at Friday prayers in Rafah last week: “There is no truth to [claims] that Hamas fighters are in Syria, although we stand on the side of the Syrian people and condemn the brutal attacks they are exposed to.” (Ma’an, June 17)

    Meanwhile in Lebanon, at least 12 soldiers were killed in clashes with supporters of Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir in Sidon, the latest reprise of last year’s sectarian clashes. (AFP, June 25) In worse news still, AFP reports that residents of an Egyptian village said they were “proud” of the mob lynching of four Shi’ite residents—an attack that followed weeks of anti-Shi’ite rhetoric in the media. It began June 23 when hundreds of villagers in Abu Mussalem, Giza province, surrounded the house of a Shi’ite family after learning that a leading Shi’ite cleric, Hassan Shehata, was inside.

    The mob threw Molotov cocktails at the house while chating “Allahu Akbar” and “Shi’ites are infidels”; then stormed it, dragging the residents out and beating them, witnesses told AFP. Four people died including Shehata and his brother, and several others were wounded. Participants filmed the attack and exchanged mobile phone video clips and pictures with each other.

    It isn’t difficult to see where this is heading…

  3. Musical chairs at Ramallah
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on June 23 accepted the resignation of the newly-appointed prime minister, Rami Hamdallah. Abbas named Hamdallah, president of a West Bank university, on June 2 and asked him to form a new cabinet. Hamdallah’s predecessor US-educated economist Salam Fayyad, resigned in April after six years in office (CNN, Reuters, June 23) Daoud Kuttab writes for Al-Monitor that Hamdallah’s role “lacked legitimacy” due to the continued de facto suspension of the Palestinian Legislative Council in spite of the new pact with Hamas.

  4. IDF admits “Gaza strip mall” scam
    After being exposed by the Electronic Intifada website, the Israeli army issued an apology for an image it published of a lavish mall, allegedly in the besieged Gaza Strip, admitting that the mall is actually in Malaysia, and claiming that what happened was “an honest mistake.” The image’s caption on the English-language page of the Israeli Army blog alleged the huge and extravagant shopping mall is in Gaza: “Despite what you hear from the media, Gaza is not an open air prison.” The blog also included pictures of fancy hotels, and shots of Palestinians in Gaza allegedly “enjoying the nightlife scene.” (IMEMC, Aug. 16)