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January 27, 1989 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-01-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

UMW

Jihad

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Continued from Page 1

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sible for planning, organizing
and executing the initial in-
cidents which sparked off the
intifada in the teeming refu-
gee camps of Gaza.
It was indeed clear in the
early days of the uprising
that the PLO was no less sur-
prised than Israel by both the
intensity and the extent of
the violence.
While the Israeli Army
rushed massive reinforce-
ments to the exploding towns
and villages of the West bank
and Gaza, the PLO leaders in
exile, fearing they might miss
the boat, sat on telephones
and relayed instructions to
their followers in the territor-
ies, promising financial aid
and warning of the conse-
quences of disloyalty.
No one was more central to
the success of the PLO cam-
paign than Khalil al-Wazir,
known by the nom de guerre
Abu Jihad, who was both
Arafat's deputy and the
leading Islamic fundamental-
ist in the overtly secular PLO.
It was the charismatic Abu
Jihad, head of the PLO's mili-
tary operations, who pro-
videdthe conduit for
fundamentalist support and a
religious fig-leaf of respec-
tability for the PLO. His
assassination last March —
allegedly by an Israeli hit
team — is thought to have
severed the vital link between
the
PLO
and the
fundamentalists.
The devout, bearded follow-
ers of the Hamas movement
continue to revere Abu Jihad,
but now they revile the PLO,
the temporal aims of the
revolt, the very word "inti-
fada." Instead, they choose to
describe the uprising as the
"Mosque Revolution."

lb the fundamentalists, the
intifada is a purely political
act which will ultimately be
crushed by increasingly re-
pressive measures; their con-
cept of revolution, on the
other hand, is spiritual, one
that cannot be stopped until
its goals are achieved.
Moreover, Hamas leaders —
most of whom have close links
with the fundamentalist
Muslim Brotherhood in other
Arab countries speak with
increasing contempt of the
PLO and its political aspir-
ations.
"We are not a faction of the
PLO, nor will we ever be,"
says Sheikh Khalil Koka, a
guiding light of Hamas, who
was expelled to Lebanon six
months ago. "Rather, we are
part of the worldwide Islamic
movement."
"We want an Islamic state,"
says Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,
another spiritual leader of
Hamas. "We believe that the

power of Islam will be vic-
torious."
Gaza has always provided
fertile soil for Islamic fun-
damentalism and the Israeli
authorities did little to
discourage its development
after they conquered the area
from Egypt in the 1967 Six
Day War.
Ironically, it was the Israeli
authorities themselves who
assisted the advance of the
fundamentalist cause. They
believed that the religious
leaders of Gaza would provide
an obstacle to the inexorable
march of the PLO, whose pro-
mise of a "secular, democratic
Palestinian state" was ana-
thema to the ideals of
fundamentalism.
The real nature of the fun-
damentalists became clear

To the
fundamentalists,
the intifada is a
purely political
act. . .; their
concept of
revolution, on
the other hand,
is spiritual.

three years ago when mili-
tant Hamas youths embarked
on a campaign of enforcing
religious values and practices
in the Gaza Strip.
Liquor stores were burnt
down, movie theaters were
vandalized, wedding parties
were broken up if modern
music was played and women
were threatened with
violence if the young zealots
considered that they were
immodestly dressed.
According to sources, it was
only when the PLO leaders
realized that the December
1987 unrest was not merely
another isolated outburst —
and that the fundamentalists
were providing the impetus —
that they hastened to get into
the act and mobilize their
lieutenants.
A month after the intifada
began, the PLO moved deci-
sively to take control of its
future direction. This task
was assigned to Abu Jihad,
who summoned a meeting of
Palestinians at the PLO head-
quarters in Tunis to formally
create the Unified Committee
of the Uprising.

The committee — compris-
ing PLO members, commu-
nists and fundamentalists —
was charged with setting the
agenda for disturbances and
coordinating the uprising. A
hidden purpose of the PLO
leaders was to absorb the
fundamentalists and blunt

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