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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Terror Attack Claimed by “Abd al-Qader al-Husseini Storm Troopers”

Filed under: Israeli Security, Palestinians, Radical Islam

Abd al-Qader al-Husseini
Abd al-Qader al-Husseini

Immediately after the murder of the couple near Itamar, Naama and Eitam Henkin, in front of their children, a group from Fatah issued a statement claiming responsibility for the murder.

It turned out that the murder was actually carried out by a Hamas terror cell, however, this Fatah group’s name and their plans, should not only worry Israel, but also the Palestinian Authority.  While this Fatah group may not have carried out the murders, it is apparent from their well-financed website, that they possess financial resources.

With the Palestinian world in a state of flux, it is important to take this group’s mission statement seriously.

Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini (Library of Congress)
Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini (Library of Congress)

The group is named after Abd al-Qader al-Husseini, commander of the “Holy Jihad” troops of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in the days of the British Mandate. For years, Arafat’s PLO tried to expunge this chapter in Palestinian history because the Palestinian leadership (once based in Tunisia after their expulsion from Beirut) wanted to base their legitimacy on the rhetoric of refugees and not on the history of the Palestinian struggle in the Land of Israel itself.

Arafat’s Refugee Narration or the Mufti’s Holy Jihad?

Yasir Arafat, the founder of Fatah
Yasir Arafat, the founder of Fatah

Today, this argument lies at the heart of the struggle to succeed Abu Mazen.  After Abu Mazen, will the “Tunisian leadership” generation continue to hold the reins of power or will power be transferred to the Tanzim, Fatah’s militant faction? A group of Abd al-Qader al-Husseini forces clearly stated that the “Holy Jihad” preceded the PLO, implying that now it’s the turn of Fatah activists from the West Bank to take the reins of power from the Tunis leadership.

It is unclear whether the Muqata [the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in Ramallah] will receive this favorably, especially due to the challenges coming from Jerusalem – the place designated by the Tunisian leadership as the focal point of the current conflict.

However, a much greater danger than this has developed, towards both Israel and the Palestinians. The rhetoric of the Abd al-Qader al-Husseini group is a return back to the days of the Mufti – emphasizing ideas of relentless jihad, rather than Palestinian engagement in the popular national struggle or in diplomacy.  There was no mention of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, only of whole mandatory Land of Israel.

In other words, this signals a renewed effort to try and succeed where the Mufti had failed. The danger is not only that of terrorism within Israel, but also of a new Nakba [“catastrophe”] – with respect to the idea that they wish to renew the Nakba experience carried out by the Mufti.