An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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Escalations in Israel

During the past week, we saw another flare up along the Gaza-Israel border with approximately 80 rockets fired into Israel by terrorists affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The skirmish began last Wednesday, when Israeli soldiers were fired upon by a PIJ sniper cell and the IDF returned fire. This was followed, on Sunday, by a PIJ attempt to plant an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) alongside the security fence separating Gaza and Israel. Again, the terrorist plot was foiled by the IDF.

PIJ then proceeded to launch 50 rockets into Israel. Israel responded by destroying PIJ targets near Damascus, Syria and in Gaza. These targets included research and development and rocket manufacturing facilities as well as the headquarters of PIJ’s Khan Yunis Brigade.

The rocket fire continued through Monday evening, with one rocket hitting a children’s playground – thankfully no one was hurt. A cease fire was agreed to Monday night and, as of the time of this writing, it is holding.

Who Are Palestinian Islamic Jihad?

Of the world’s radical Islamist terror organizations, PIJ is less well known, but not without its ability to kill and maim. The organization is nearly 30 years old and enjoys backing from Iran and Syria.

PIJ’s operational arena is the Gaza Strip, and while that territory is controlled by Hamas, the two terror organizations share the goal of destroying Israel, and PIJ is generally thought of as even more radical than Hamas.

Tactically, PIJ’s approach to terrorism has followed the trends of radical Islamic terror organizations worldwide. In the 1980’s and 90’s their primary tactic was bombing. This was followed during the second Intifada with their using suicide bombers targeting Israeli busses and high-density civilian areas such as restaurants and markets. In the years since the development of Israel’s security fence, terrorist organizations in Gaza have shifted their tactics to primarily using rockets, and PIJ is no different.

At their core, PIJ shares the same goals, financial backers, and tactics as their better known allies, Hamas.

Israel’s Ability to Defend Itself

Defending a democratic nation against terrorism is no simple task. But Israel is able to defend itself against Palestinian terror onslaughts, like the one we saw this past week, in large part because of the strength of the US-Israel relationship.

The Iron Dome Missile defense system, which consistently destroys rockets headed for civilian population centers in mid-air (including during PIJ’s most recent rocket barrage) would not exist were it not for American aid to Israel. Likewise, Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in the Middle East, which is vital to ensuring Israel’s security, exists because the US is committed to ensuring and maintaining Israel’s ability to protect itself.

Each-and-every day, CUFI Action Fund lobbyists visit Capitol Hill to ensure the strength and durability of the US-Israel relationship. We lobby in support of US military aid to Israel and remind elected officials that the intelligence and technical know-how that the US receives from Israel is second-to-none and has directly contributed to saving American lives.

Likewise, each time CUFI activists convene in Washington, as we will June 28-30, our aim is to strengthen the US-Israel relationship to ensure Israel has the support and capability it needs to keep terrorists like PIJ at bay.

Iran Takes a Hit

Last Friday, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body charged with "combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats," blacklisted Iran due to the Islamic Republic’s terror financing. CUFI called for this move last summer, and though we feel it should have happened sooner, we are pleased that this move will make it much more difficult to do business in Iran.

While the FATF’s blacklisting of Iran is a positive development, more still can be done to maximize the maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. The Trump administration can terminate civilian nuclear waivers granted to Tehran, and the international community can snap international sanctions back into place that were relieved as a result of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.

Given the round of Iran-sponsored PIJ rocket fire emanating from Gaza that we saw this week, it is clear that until Iran’s funds are completely dried up, they will continue to support terror and sow instability in the Middle East at every opportunity.

Keep reading the Action Fund’s weekly Update to stay informed about developments in the region and what we, as committed Christian Zionists from across the country, are doing to ensure the US never turns its back on our stalwart ally Israel.

CUFI Action Fund Team

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