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Palestinian Islamic Jihad

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad is an organization that shares, with Hamas, a policy of destruction of the State of Israel, but, unlike Hamas, neither provides social services nor participates in the Palestinian Authority. Its leaders came from the Muslim Brotherhood, but they split from it in the 1970s, believing it was too moderate; it was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in 1997.[1]

A small group compared to Hamas, it has only operated against Israel, although has made threats against the U.S. It is headquartered in Syria, although it has a presence in Lebanon and an overt office in Yemen.

While it is Sunni, its funding is believed to be primarily Iranian.[1] It sent a message of congratulations to the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on his reelection in 2009. [2]

Eight of its leaders were indicted by the U.S. in 2003, [3] Of the eight, however, only one, Sami Al-Arian, went to trial. 8 of 17 charges were dismissed and the jury deadlocked on the others; a plea bargain, having him serve 19 months before deportation, was agreed-to in lieu of a retrial. He had lived in the U.S. for 30 years, raised 5 children, taught computer science at the University of South Florida, and was described by supporters simply as an "outspoken Palestinian activist." [4] In 2008, however, he was faced with the possibility of a new indictment. He claims the plea agreement does not require him to testify in other cases, but the U.S. government disagreed and an appeals court agreed; he could be held in criminal contempt if he refuses to testify to a grand jury.[5] As of September 2008, he had been released to home detention.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Holly Fletcher (10 April 2008), Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Council on Foreign Relations
  2. World leaders Congratulate Ahmadinejad's reelection, Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 15 June 2009
  3. Eight Members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Arrested, Charged with Racketeering and Conspiracy to Provide Support to Terrorists, U.S. Department of Justice
  4. Jennifer Steinhauer (2 May 2006), "19 Months More in Prison for Professor in Terror Case", New York Times
  5. Neil MacFarquahar (18 April 2008), "Professor in Deadlocked Terrorism Case Could Face a New Indictment", New York Times
  6. "Ex-Professor Is Released", Associated Press, 3 September 2008