Abdullah Azzam believed that following the end of the war in Afghanistan, focus should shift…
Abdullah Azzam believed that following the end of the war in Afghanistan, focus should shift to Palestine as the next theater of Jihad. This aspiration did not come into fruition in his lifetime and not in the two decades following his death due to Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s preference, as well as that of his partner Ayman Al-Zawahiri, to act against the “distant enemy”, the US.
The American lead Western invasion of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) only contributed to Al-Qaeda’s increasing focus, while pushing Israel to the sidelines of the Jihadist discourse. However, it is important to emphasize that Israel has continued to be a target for Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks
It seems that Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in January 2009 contributed to the escalation in the Jihadist discourse regarding Israel. In 2010, threats to attack strategic targets in Israel increased in Jihadist forums.
In January 2009, for example, Osama bin Laden called to carry out Jihad operations against Israel, following Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip. Bin Laden condemned the Arab regimes for preventing their people from acting “for the liberation of Palestine […] the way to liberate Al-Aqsa requires leadership that is true, dedicated, independent, strong, and mindful of the ideas of reality and the ideas of Islamic Sharia”.
It remains to be seen whether the increase in the number of statements made by Al-Qaeda’s leadership and especially by the Jihadist forums regarding Israel are a response to the events or an Al-Qaeda strategic master plan in which Israel is the target, or maybe a combination of both.
This paper aims to examine the awakening seen in the Jihadist discourse regarding Israel towards the end of 2010 and will try to examine whether there was a change in the strategic plan of global Jihad organizations towards Israel.