Daily Israel Report

Islamic Jihad Preparing to Join PLO

Gaza terror group discusses organizational changes to PLO, warns PLO must embrace armed struggle or unity deal will collapse.
By Dalit Halevy, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/23/2014, 3:01 PM

Islamic Jihad terrorist
Islamic Jihad terrorist
Flash 90

Ramadan Salah, leader of the Gaza-based terror organization Islamic Jihad, declared to the Arabic paper Al-Hayat on Tuesday that his group "is prepared to join the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) on a new political and organizational basis."

The PLO has achieved international recognition as the representative of the "Palestinian people" since the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was established by the PLO to govern Arab residents living under the group's auspices.

However, the PLO has never renounced terrorism. Islamic Jihad for its part was behind the mid-March showering of roughly 100 rockets on Israel over three days.

Salah's statement confirms Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's comments last Friday, when he said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad would be integrated in the PLO's leadership and take part in elections for PLO institutions.

Such a change in the institutional organization of the PLO is a result of the unity deal between Fatah and Hamas, which is expected to the formation of a unity government next week.

The Islamic Jihad leader noted that negotiations between the sides so far concerning the PLO reformation have not yet addressed national topics, hinting at a change in the PLO's platform to embrace armed struggle instead of talks as the only way to "free Palestine."

Salah warned that the gaps between the sides on this topic threaten to collapse the reconciliation deal.

Islamic Jihad does not intend to join in elections for the parliament or presidency, said Salah, because those institutions were a product of the Oslo Accords that his organization strongly rejects.