Palestinian Resistance Group Issues Strong Warning to Tel Aviv

A bereaved Palestinian mother in Gaza weeps by the ruins of her home. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Al-Nakhala said on Monday that his fighters would take up arms again if Israel violates the terms of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that ended three days of airstrikes and rocket attacks.

Israel and the Islamic Jihad agreed on Sunday to a ceasefire, which came into effect shortly before midnight. The truce, facilitated by Egyptian negotiators, ended three days of Israeli attacks and Palestinian retaliation, which left 44 Palestinian dead and over 300 wounded, including many children and women.

In a speech on Monday, Al-Nakhala called the Islamic Jihad to Israeli attacks a “victory”. While no Israelis were killed by the rockets his group launched from Gaza, Al-Nakhala said that the Islamic Jihad campaign nevertheless demonstrated “unity” among the various Resistance factions operating in Gaza.

Hamas, the largest of these groups and the governing authority of the Palestinian enclave, did not directly take part in the attacks.

Al-Nakhala told his supporters that “if the enemy does not abide by what we agreed on through the Egyptian mediator, we will resume fighting again.”

Meanwhile, in Israel, Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office warned that if the ceasefire is violated by the Palestinian Resistance, “the State of Israel maintains the right to respond strongly.”

The terms of the agreement have not been made public. However, as negotiations took place on Sunday, Al-Nakhala told reporters that his side demanded the release of Khalil Awawda and Bassem Saadi. The former is an Islamic Jihad member on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison, while the latter is the group’s West Bank leader, who was arrested and beaten by Israeli forces in a raid last Monday.

Israel, however, did not agree to release either man, officials briefed reporters on Monday. The Times of Israel reported that West Jerusalem has “no intention” of turning over either prisoner.

Saadi’s arrest was largely responsible for kicking off the latest round of attacks between Israel and Palestinian fighters, which was the bloodiest since Israel and Hamas fought a 15-day war in May 2021.

After the arrest operation, in which a Palestinian teenager was killed, Islamic Jihad fighters were placed on high alert, and Israel launched a series of strikes on the organization beginning on Friday, citing an immediate threat to the state from the group. Tel Aviv, however, provided no evidence of an Islamic Jihad plan to attack Israel.

Beginning on Friday with an airstrike on the home of Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer al-Jabari, ‘Operation Breaking Dawn’ resulted in massive destruction throughout the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip. At least 44 Palestinians were killed, including 15 children and over 300 were wounded, mostly civilians.

As the ceasefire held on Monday afternoon, Israel allowed trucks carrying fuel and food to enter the enclave. Israeli residents and settlers near the Gazan border were told that they no longer needed to remain near bomb shelters, and schools, businesses, and public transportation in these areas returned to normal.

Palestinians, however, are left with the massive task of removing rubble, digging up for the missing, and rebuilding what has been destroyed.


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