A leader in the Islamic Jihad group in the West Bank said his organization, whose activists have lately been on the top of the Israeli list forÃ‚Â assassinations and arrests, may recognize the state of Israel in the future, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
‘If Islamic Jihad participates in the Palestinian Authority, and the P.A. reaches a settlement with Israel, this will be recognition on our part,’ said Abdel Halim Izzidin, one of the leaders of the political wing of the movement. ‘Not official recognition, but recognition.’
Izzidin, known as Abu Qassam, said his group is committed to the temporary cease-fire and the calm declared by Palestinian factions in their Cairo talks in March. The movement, however, has been forced to respond to Israeli provocations and attacks, he said.
‘Israel forces us to react. If Israel stops the assassinations and arrests, we will observe the hudna [calm],’ he said, adding that he is ready to try to dissuade young Palestinians from carrying out suicide attacks if he knows of a would-be bomber.
The latest suicide attack, which took place in Netanya on July 13, was planned and carried out by Islamic Jihad’s armed wing. Five Israelis died and several dozen were wounded.
Izzidin said there is an unbridgeable gap between his movement and the Zionist ideology.Ã‚Â However, if Israel’s Zionist mentality starts to give up land they always believed they will build their Jewish State on, his organization would be willing to give up some parts of its ideology, which calls for an Islamic State from the river to the sea.
‘Each one will keep its ideology in its heart,’ he said adding that negotiations with Israel could be possible at some point.Ã‚Â The movement has rejected negotiations with Israel until now.
Izzidin described the disengagement plan as a ‘security program designed only to minimize damage for Israel, not to enable Palestinian independence.
‘We will not wait for the occupation to leave,’ he added.
He expressed trust in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, describing him as a ‘serious and honest man.’
Izzidin expressed his and his group’s belief in armed struggle and their rejectionÃ‚Â of civil war in Palestine.Ã‚Â
He said, ‘Arafat believed in armed struggle and was not afraid of civil war. Abu Mazen does not believe in armed struggle and opposed civil war. We are with Arafat on the matter of the armed struggle, and with Abu Mazen in the desire to prevent civil war.’
Izzidin spent 12 years in Israeli prisons, but he said he doesn’t hate Israelis. ‘I would like to get to know their human side … both sides see only the negative in one another,’ he said.