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The War in Gaza as Reflected in the Global Jihadist Discourse

It seems that Operation “Protective Edge”, which began on July 8, 2014 in order to stop Hamas’s rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli settlements, was expected to bring about a significant shift in the global jihadist discourse in terms of increased militant rhetoric against Israel. This expectation was based on the effect that of Operation “Cast Lead” had in 2009 on the jihadist discourse, the condemnation of Israel by Sheikh Osama bin Laden and Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri, leaders of Al-Qaeda, and the call for the liberation of Palestine.

However, throughout Operation “Protective Edge”, not a single statement was made by the Al-Qaeda leadership, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, or by Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s adversary, regarding the war in Gaza. The meager extent of the jihadist discourse and the weak reactions of jihadists on the subject, as well as the limited statements expressing solidarity with the residents of Gaza, demonstrated that the war in Gaza is being pushed to the sidelines of the jihadist discourse. The unusual effort to advance the issue of the Palestinian problem to the top of the agenda became evident only in mid-August 2014 with the publication of a new English jihadist magazine titled, “Palestine, betrayal of the guilty conscience”, by AQAP, which sought to emphasize that while the Palestinian problem has not been abandoned, it has been deferred to a later stage.

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