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Islamic Jihad members push for internal reform

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is mired in an internal dispute as members push the leadership to permit internal elections and expand into a popular movement.
Islamic jihad militants take part in the funeral of three comrades, who were killed in an Israeli air strike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip March 11, 2014. An Israeli air strike on Tuesday killed three Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad group said. The Israeli military said an Israeli aircraft targeted Islamic Jihad members who had fired a mortar bomb at its forces, and "direct hits were confirmed". REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3G

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Disputes within Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip have escalated in recent months. Members have been demanding internal elections for leadership roles, and an end to appointments of positions and unilateral decision-making. The push stems from a desire among some members to transition the movement into a popular movement. There have also been demands not to allow Hamas to monopolize the Palestinian arena.

Well-informed sources from within Islamic Jihad's leadership told Al-Monitor that a crisis has erupted as a result of the demands. The internal disputes also relate to powers granted to the leadership, decision-making mechanisms, the movement's positions toward various political issues within Palestine and how to deal with other Arab crises that have repercussions on the Palestinian issue.

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