TEL AVIV — The leadership of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group has plans to bring one of its own officials before a disciplinary committee after he criticized Iran, a senior source within the organization has told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Iran is Islamic Jihad’s primary patron.
The official was identified by the source as Abdel Rahman Shihab, who was imprisoned in Israel for 26 years and released in the prisoner exchange deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit that saw the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Asked for comment, Dahoud Shihab, an Islamic Jihad spokesperson, told Breitbart Jerusalem that the group is not commenting on internal issues, and “one of our essential bases is to respect our allies and everyone who supports the Palestinian people and its resistance.”
Shihab, a resident of Jabalia in the north of the Gaza Strip, was convicted of the murder of Israelis in the 1980s. While in Israeli prison, he completed his academic studies and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from an Israeli university.
More recently, Shihab expressed his opposition to Iran in contrary to the position of Islamic Jihad’s leadership. On a number of different occasions, including on social media, he argued that Iran has failed to give significant aid to the Palestinian people, especially to those of the Gaza Strip. His posts have since been removed.
According to Shihab’s posts, which were read by Breitbart Jerusalem berfore their removal, Iran does not provide significant means of improving the lives of Palestinians like hospitals or schools, but does deliver tools meant to kill like missiles, rifles and ammunition.
Shihab’s comments are highly unusual coming from an Islamic Jihad member, since the organization mostly depends on Iranian funding. The incident comes as Islamic Jihad and the Iranians continue to negotiate the disbanding of the al-Sabireen movement, a Shi’ite militia established with funding and support from Iran by defectors from Islamic Jihad. This development was the result of a break between Iran and the leadership of Islamic Jihad as crises broke out in Syria and Iran. Islamic Jihad hesitated to adopt the official Iranian position and accuse Saudi Arabia and Qatar of being behind the anarchy in the Arab world rather than Iran.
Shihab was quick to apologize for his comments and remove them from social media, but his retreat didn’t stop the leaders of the organization from scheduling a disciplinary hearing, the source said.
According to the senior source in Islamic Jihad, “The disciplinary hearing was meant to signal to the Iranians that the comments are not acceptable for the movement. As far as we’re concerned, Iran is the main ally supporting the Palestinian struggle, the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian resistance and we do not accept these things.”