What PR value is there in a military display that includes crippled and injured operatives? According to the Islamic Jihad’s website, the military wing recently held maneuvers in which veteran members of the Jihad who had been injured over the years in battles with Israeli forces had a starring role.
The maneuvers included sights not usually seen on the battlefield, one-legged men carrying Kalashnikov rifles or RPG launchers while leaning on crutches or sitting in wheelchairs.
According to armed factions in Gaza the display is a PR demonstration that strengthens their activities within the Palestinian internal political system.
The Islamic Jihad has puffed up its position against Hamas as the group spearheading the struggle against Israel. The organization has gone all out on a PR campaign to glorify its fighters in the Gaza Strip – the height of the campaign is their latest exhibition maneuver.
"Bombing us and leaving us amputees will not stop the Jihad," the military wing’s website quoted one militant, Abu Abdallah who lost both his legs in clashes near Khan Yunis. "We will continue to fight even when our bodies are torn to pieces."
The website quotes another militant, Abed al-Rahman whose leg was cut off in "an IDF strike". "We trust in the Jihad way and we will not change it. There is no alternative to Jihad and resistance, until all Palestinian land is freed from the criminal Zionists," he stressed. According to al-Rahman, even when he was being rushed to hospital after he was injured, he promised himself that he would return to the Jihad path upon his release.
Based on the photos, it is extremely doubtful that the maneuver participants are capable of fighting, but through the images and the maneuver itself the Islamic Jihad is looking to show the Palestinians their tenacity. "The injury has damaged my body but not my will," summarized al-Rahman.