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Exclusive: Islamic Jihad Rethinks Role In Palestinian Politics

In the second of four exclusive reports from Gaza on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, Asmaa al-Ghoul reports on the movement's greater involvement in Palestinian civic and political life, including municipal elections.
Freed Palestinian prisoner Ibrahim Baroud waves upon his arrival in Gaza City April 8, 2013. Baroud, who was convicted of his affiliation with the armed group of Islamic Jihad and for carrying out armed attacks against Israel, was released on Monday after serving 27 years in an Israeli jail, according to media reports.  REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXYD5M

For decades, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement said that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) did not represent it, since the former was at odds with the factions that politically and intellectually constitute the PLO — until the 2005 Cairo agreement altered this stance. The PIJ agreed with the rest of the factions, including Hamas, to develop and activate the PLO according to a consensual basis, so as to comprise all factions. Words were translated into actions when in 2012, the PIJ participated in the reform sessions and announced that it would take part in the National Council elections.

Last February, and for the first time ever, the PIJ encouraged its members to enlist in the electoral register. This was another sign of change in the movement’s political stance, showing that it was moving toward becoming more engaged in Palestinian civic and political life.

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