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Islamic Jihad gains support in Gaza as Hamas declines

Recent polls reveal that many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip see Islamic Jihad as more consistent in its positions and more ready to retaliate against Israeli attacks.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad supporters take part in a protest against U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and Palestinians as the U.S. and Israel flags are seen on the ground, in Gaza City January 10, 2014. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX178KN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Despite the general harmony between Hamas and Islamic Jihad on political positions involving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a rivalry exists behind the scenes. The two compete to attract Islamist supporters and appear to the public as the group best suited to achieve the aspirations and hopes of the Palestinian people.

These Islamist movements use various methods to garner support, such as mass mobilizations, donating food and money to the poor, proselytizing and insisting on such Palestinian constants as the importance of Jerusalem and the right of return of the refugees. In general, they aim to fulfill the public’s wishes. 

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