In a recent issue of Thabat, an Al Qaeda affiliated media outfit, the emir of Jaysh al-Ummah in Gaza – Sheikh Mujahid Abu Hafs al-Maqdisi – explained his vision to solve the Palestinian issue while accusing Palestinian factions of serving the interests of “Western Zionist-Crusaders” and “Eastern Russian-Persian” projects.
In the article, al-Maqdisi recognized the “Palestinian case” was “the only concern of sincere Muslims,” adding that some “gave their lives in defense of Palestine” in order to “liberate it from the Zionist enemy.”
Al-Maqdisi complained about the lack of “vision” of the ummah (worldwide community of Muslims) in uniting against the “Zionist-Crusader occupation.”
“But as an ummah, we were and still lack a clear vision through which we can gather the ummah’s forces and unite them in the face of the Zionist-Crusader occupation of Muslim countries,” al-Maqdisi stated.
Furthermore, al-Maqdisi accused Palestinian factions of corruption by adopting “Western Zionist-Crusader” and “Eastern Russian-Persian” projects instead of choosing one implemented by a true Islamic regime.
“Thus, our Palestinian factions are divided between two projects. A Western Zionist-Crusader project and an Eastern Russian-Persian project. With an apparent absence of the nation’s project. This is due to the absence of an Islamic regime that adopts and sponsors this project, as in the case of the projects that conflict over the occupation of Muslim countries and the theft of their wealth,” al-Maqdisi said.
Moreover, al-Maqdisi accused longtime Palestinian Authority critic Muhammad Dahlan of corruption.
“Some of the leaders of these organizations and their security apparatus became the spearhead in confronting the ummah’s uprising against the functional regime. Dahlan’s role in many Arab and Islamic countries is no longer hidden,” al-Maqdisi said.
Al-Maqdisi followed-up with several ideas on how the ummah can resolve the Palestinian issue. Some of the points mentioned include the development of a strategic plan, the creation of an Islamic system, adopting jihad as a counter to the “occupation” and establishing a financial fund to “support the mujahideen.”
Jaysh al-Ummah’s likely affiliation with Al Qaeda
Thabat has now published several articles written by Jaysh al-Ummah, which suggests the group’s likely affiliation or representation of Al Qaeda in Gaza. Although not known to be as active as other Gaza-based movements such as Hamas, Jaysh al-Ummah does maintain an online presence and has also claimed an attack against Israel in 2019.
Other activities, such as online campaigning for financial support via Bitcoin, has permitted the militant group to bypass international financial regulation laws – thus allowing it to receive money from supporters living abroad.
Al-Maqdisi’s message isn’t new and he doesn’t offer a clear answer to the question of the “Palestinian case.” His ideas resemble a call to arms more than a viable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Additionally, his calls to “unite the ummah” and “face the Zionist-Crusader occupation” are a repetitive motif used by Al Qaeda and other salafi-jihadi groups.
The repeated publications of Jaysh al-Ummah’s messages on Thabat suggests the group is in one form or another a representative of Al Qaeda in Gaza. And though they are not as active as other Palestinian militant groups, their publications on Thabat demonstrates the group wields some influence despite their low-profile presence in the Gaza Strip.