The Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the al-Quds Brigades, announced Thursday it would accept the document of principles written up by Palestinian prisoners and initiated by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, which called for establishing an independent Palestinian nation on the ’67 borders next to Israel.
In a surprising step, following lengthy consultation between commanders of the armed wing and the Islamic Jihad’s political leadership, al-Quds issued a statement in Jenin saying that “the factions fully trust the organization leaders jailed in Israel who signed the document. They are a brave leadership who fought and sacrificed all they have for the Palestinian people. We examined and learned the document and we don’t have any reservations about it, except those clauses which our imprisoned leaders had reservations over.” The as-Quds members were referring to the comments Islamic Jihad prisoners wrote on the document stating that they oppose in principle negotiations with Israel.
The most significant declarations in the armed wing’s statement are in reference to a cease fire: “We support and are committed to these instructions, even if they include a limited cease fire. If it wasn’t for the daily assassinations and arrests we would have announced a cease-fire for a month so that our leaders could examine the document of understandings and the possibility of implementing it as a temporary national project. We believe that the document includes the minimum which all the Palestinian factions agree on.”
In the statement, the al-Quds Brigades said it does support the shedding of blood, adding that, “everything we do is not done out of love for death or despair, but rather to improve life for our children and the Palestinian nation.”
When asked whether the acceptance of a two-state solution marks, in essence, an indirect recognition of Israel by Islamic Jihad, a senior organization member said “we are committed to the interests of the Palestinian people and to the Palestinian consensus. We have no intention of taking a position that would in any way cause harm to the Palestinian nation and its policy within the current international diplomatic reality.
'This is an internal Palestinian matter'
The statement also suggests that Islamic Jihad is solely responsible for all terror attacks carried out in Israel in the past year, or since a cease fire was declared by the Palestinian organizations in March 2005.
In addition, the statement also indicates a willingness on the part of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing to accept the document of principles in its entirety, including the agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel and the recognition of the PLO and past agreements with Israel.
A senior al-Quds Brigades member told Ynet, “we are prepared to implement the document, including a temporary lull in violence if the situation on the ground will permit us to do so, which means the acceptance of the document by the Palestinian organizations on the one hand and the cessation of Israeli violence against us and the Palestinian people on the other. Such a development may lead us to declare a cease fire.”
Israel, however, does not have high hopes for the ultimatum set by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ to Hamas.
“This is an internal Palestinian matter,” an Israeli government official said. “We prefer not to get involved in this directly.”
Ronny Sofer contributed to the report