Islamic Liberation Party demonstration
Islamic Liberation Party
Invitation posted on the ILP's Website for the demonstrations
Demonstration in Ramallah (Al-Ayyam, November 28)
Islamic Liberation Party demonstration in Hebron (Naif Hashamon for Reuters, November 27).
One of the Islamic Liberation Party’s (Hizb u-Tahrir) demonstrations in Judea and Samaria (unspecified location). The slogans on the signs condemn the Annapolis meeting and call the United States the "enemy of Islam” (www.al-aqsa.org, one of the ILP’s Websites).
1. The Islamic Liberation Party played a prominent role in the demonstrations against the Annapolis meeting held throughout Judea and Samaria (November 27). The ILP is a radical, pan-Islamic political movement, Palestinian in origin, whose objective is to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate terminated by Ataturk in 1924 and to institute Islamic law. The party is in favor of "the liberation of Palestine ,” i.e., the destruction of Israel through jihad (holy war) and is vehemently opposed to any political agreement with it. The ILP does not participate in terrorist activities but its radical ideology and global deployment make its activists potentially convenient targets for recruitment by Islamic terrorist organizations .
2. The demonstrations it organized against the Annapolis meeting were forcibly suppressed by the Palestinian security forces, which detained some of the party’s activists. However, the demonstrations showed that the party was becoming increasingly popular in Judea and Samaria and dared to challenge the Palestinian Authority more openly . As opposed to its previously covert modus operandi, in recent years it has operated overtly, especially in its traditional power base in the Ramallah, Hebron and Jerusalem regions. Besides political and ideological-religious activities, it is also active in local and overall Palestinian affairs which are of public interest to broaden its power base.
3. Although ILP and Hamas are both radical Islamic parties, they have strong ideological differences. While Hamas, the larger and more important party, is in favor of establishing an Islamic state on all the territory of " Palestine ,” the ILP adheres to the concept of establishing an Islamic Caliphate without a national-territorial base. Hamas regards the use of terrorism ("resistance”) as it primary means for furthering its strategic objectives, while the ILP favors non-violent action, including preaching and training an ideological elite which will enable it to instill its ideological mindset into public consciousness and at the end of a long process to take over the government by force. However, despite ideological differences, the interests of the two recently met in protesting against the Annapolis meeting and the PA . Such collaboration may continue and strengthen as long as the PA headed by Abu Mazen keeps up a dialogue with Israel .
The Islamic Liberation Party
4. The ILP is a radical pan-Islamic political movement , Palestinian in origin. It was founded in East Jerusalem in 1952 (at that time under Jordanian control) and officially established in 1953 without formal legal Jordanian authorization. Its founder was Taki al-Din al-Nabhani , a judge in the Shari’ court in Jerusalem , who was born in the village of Ijzim , which is today Kerem Maharal (on the western slopes of the Carmel mountain range).
5. The party’s objective was to restore the Islamic Caliphate dissolved by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk in 1924 and to impose the dictates of Islamic law (the Shariah) on its populace. That was to be done by indoctrinating them with its worldview in preparation for revolutions against secular Islamic regimes, either by enlisting the elite (such as army officers) or by eliminating the regimes’ leaders.
6. The ILP is in favor of "the liberation of Palestine ,” that is, the destruction of Israel through jihad, and firmly opposes a political agreement with Israel . However, according to its ideology, that is not the duty of an individual or of a Muslim government, but only of the Islamic Caliphate when it is restored . Therefore, as an organization the party is not involved in the terrorist activities of the Palestinian terrorist organizations or of the global jihad (although in the past it has expressed sympathy for the attacks carried out by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad). It tries to realize its world view by long-term preaching (the da’wah ) to the Palestinian population in the PA-administered territories and among Islamic communities around the world, alongside its political and welfare activities , whose objective is to bring it popular support.
7. The party’s first base was in pre-1968 Jordan , where it was persecuted by the Jordanian government, which kept it from operating. From Jordan it spread to most of the Arab and North African countries, to Turkey and Iran . It also spread to the Muslim countries in Southeast and Central Asia ( Indonesia , Bangladesh and Uzbekistan ), Muslim communities in Europe (particularly in Britain and Germany ) and in North America , Australia and Japan . 1 Most of the Arab-Muslim countries do not allow it to operate freely and sometimes even persecute its members.
ILP activity in Judea and Samaria in recent years
8. There are overtly and covertly active radical Islamic movements and organizations which operate in the PA-administered territories. Two of them, Hamas and the PIJ, are clearly Palestinian-Islamic in character (although their leadership is geographically outside the PA) and they favor violence and terrorism ( muqawamah ) as the means to achieve their goals. Two parties, the Muslim Brotherhood and the ILP are branches of radical Islamic organizations which are deployed throughout the Arab-Muslim world and in Muslim communities abroad . They focus their activities on ideological preaching and political struggle against their opponents without establishing terrorist-military wings. However, both have the potential to recruit terrorist operatives to carry out attacks for other radical Islamic organizations in the Palestinian and international arenas.
9. Before the Six Day War the ILP was active in Judea and Samaria as an opposition force to the Jordanian regime. Between 1967 and 1977 it severely curtailed the party’s activities, fearing Israel would take steps against it. In the early 1990s it gradually renewed its activities, and more so after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, which it strongly opposes. With the rise of Islamic extremism in Palestinian society during the current violent confrontation with Israel (the second intifada), there was a renascence of activity among radical Islamic organizations, including the ILP.
10. Another increase in the ILP’s activity occurred after Hamas’ rise to power (2006-2007), in our assessment because some of the radical Islamic Palestinian populace was disappointed with the Hamas government. The ILP has focal points of support in the Jerusalem-Ramallah-Hebron region . There is a particularly hard core of activists in Jerusalem who regularly pray in the mosques on the Temple Mount and who . have been involved in violent in the Temple Mount precinct.
11. Some examples of its activities during the past two years are the following:
1) The Jerusalem-Ramallah region : On August 10, 2007, the party held a mass rally in Al-Bireh attended by 10,000 Palestinians from Judea and Samaria; on July 18, 2007 it distributed a flyer harshly critical of the violent confrontations between Fatah and Hamas; on July 15 the party held a large rally at the mosque in Al-‘Eizariya in East Jerusalem; on October 25, 2006 ILP student activists held a rally at Beir Zeit University to condemn the anti-Muhammad cartoons printed in Denmark and the harm being done by the Americans to the Iraqi people; in August 2006 the party held a rally in Al-Bireh attended by 3,000 people (among whom were activists from Hebron and Nablus, and Israeli Arabs).
2) The Hebron region : A rally was held by the ILP in the PA, one of several held on August 10 and 11, 2007. In May 2007 the ILP led a campaign against the establishment of a new missionary school in Hebron; on August 26, 2006, it held a mass rally (attended by 15,000 people) to mark the anniversary of the fall of the last Caliph; party activists called upon the populace to boycott the local municipal elections in the Palestinian Authority (2004-2005) and the Palestinian presidential elections (January 2006), claiming they had no Islamic legitimacy; on January 28, 2006, the party led a demonstration against the damage done to the prophet Muhammad by the cartoons which appeared in Denmark; in November 2005, 450 ILP activists took over the Hebron city hall as part of a difficult but successful struggle to lower electricity rates.
ILP activity against the Annapolis meeting
12. The participation of the ILP in demonstrations throughout Judea and Samaria against the November 27 Annapolis meeting was particularly conspicuous. The party was vehemently opposed to the meeting, which it represented as betrayal and a waiving of the rights of the Palestinian people. The party initiated a series of protest demonstrations in Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin and Gaza City . 2 The invitation issued by the party called upon the Palestinian populace to hold quiet mass demonstrations to express the opposition of the Islamic nation to the "cursed conference” and to the contempt of the rulers [i.e., Abu Mazen and the PA] for the land of Palestine .
Invitation posted on the ILP’s Website for the demonstrations against
the Annapolis meeting and the PA (ILP Website) 3
13. In response the PA announced it was forbidding all demonstrations against the Annapolis meeting, and its security forces showed resolve in suppressing the protests. The Palestinian security forces used force to disperse the demonstrations and detained several ILP and Hamas activists. The most conspicuous protests were held in Hebron , Ramallah, Nablus , Bethlehem and Jenin:
1) Hebron : Hundreds of Palestinians answered the ILP’s call and came to the demonstration. The Palestinian security forces confronted the demonstrators, who threw rocks at them. Force was used to subdue the demonstration and the security forces opened fire on the demonstrators killing one , Hashem al-Baradei. Dozens were wounded and dozens more detained.
2) Ramallah : The ILP and Hamas held a joint demonstration in the center of the city near Manara Square . The Palestinian security forces fired their weapons into the air and used tear gas and night sticks to disperse the demonstrators, a number of whom were detained.
Demonstration in Ramallah (Al-Ayyam, November 28).
3) Nablus : About 200 Nablus residents belonging to the ILP demonstrated against the Annapolis meeting. The Palestinian security forces fired their weapons into the air and dispersed the demonstrators.
4) Jenin : Hundreds of residents held a protest meeting under ILP aegis in the city’s largest mosque. It was followed by a procession which was dispersed by force while shots were fired into the air. The security forces imposed a curfew on the city center to prevent others from joining the demonstrators.
5) Bethlehem : The Palestinian security forces blocked the path of the procession organized by the ILP. Security forces hit demonstrators and carried out detentions.
14. Confrontations between the security forces and party activists continued after the Annapolis meeting:
1) During the funeral of the demonstrator killed in Hebron , attended by a thousand ILP and Hamas activists, violent confrontations developed between the mourners and the security forces. Approximately 30 were wounded, one of them critically.
2) On November 30 ILP activists distributed flyers throughout Judea and Samaria attacking the security forces and the PA, and accusing them of treason and enslavement to Israel . Following the distribution, the security forces encircled the mosques in the various cities and detained the ILP activists (most of whom were later released).
15. The flyers distributed read in part as follows: "The presidency of the PA has enslaved itself to the Jews and betrayed Allah and his messenger, Muhammad… Senior politicians of the PA and the Arab countries, those who crossed Bush’s threshold in Annapolis, will be "rewarded” for their participation with nothing more than surrender and more normalization with the Jews, with humiliation in this world and the next.” The flyer ends with a warning to the PA leaders about their fate: "We will spit them out the way we spit out seeds, and earth and sky will curse them” (Hamas’ PalMedia Website, November 30).
16. A manifesto distributed by the ILP on December 4, 2007 , attacked the PA and its security forces for the "crime” they had committed in Hebron by killing the ILP martyr Hashem al-Baradei. It accused the PA of providing services to the imperialist infidels (i.e., Israel and the United States ) and to the "leader of the infidel camp,” George Bush. The manifesto quoted a Qur’an verse which states that the infidels will be defeated and go to hell while whoever "was in the caravan of the Caliphate advances quickly toward the goal and nothing will stop him, if Allah wills, until the minarets of the mosques in Jerusalem and Rome echo with the message of the prophet …” (From the ILP Website).
The ILP and Hamas: a meeting of interests
17. The ILP and Hamas, as noted above, are separated by fundamental difference in ideologies . In recent years ILP activists have presented themselves as a political and ideological alternative to Hamas while maintaining hostility toward the PA . They waged a fruitless struggle for a boycott of the January 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections. After the Hamas victory, party activists held preaching meetings in the mosques of Hebron , Nablus and Ramallah at which they called upon Hamas to cede rule, calling down upon themselves the wrath of Hamas activists.
18. However, the Annapolis meeting and the pressure exerted on Hamas in Judea and Samaria created a meeting of inerest between the two rivals . Hamas and the ILP collaborated in organizing demonstrations throughout Judea and Samaria to protest the Annapolis meeting. While the ILP led the demonstrators, Hamas, the more important party, preferred to keep a low profile .
19. Their collaboration against the PA headed by Abu Mazen could be found in a survey of the Hamas media sympathizing with the ILP’s demonstrations. In an extraordinary gesture, the Hamas Palestine-info Website reported at length and sympathetically on the demonstrations, attacked the PA’s security forces which suppressed them with force and even posted the ILP’s manifesto. Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya and senior Hamas figure Muhammad al-Zahar contacted the family of the ILP activist who was killed in Hebron and expressed condolences in the name of the Hamas movement. The collaboration between Hamas and the ILP in Judea and Samaria may continue and grow the more Abu Mazen’s PA continues its dialogue with Israel .
1For further information see our August 26 2007 Bulletin entitled "The Islamic Liberation Party recently held mass rallies in Al-Bireh and other cities in the Palestinian Authority, .
2 It is unknown whether the demonstration in Hamas-ruled Gaza City actually took place.