Of course, this “little jihad” and “big jihad” talk recalls the concepts of jihad akbar (greater jihad) and jihad asghar (lesser jihad) — the idea that the spiritual struggle within the soul is the greater jihad, with the lesser jihad being warfare. Of course, 20th century Muslim theorists revered by jihadists today, such as Hassan Al-Banna and Abdullah Azzam, reject this idea as based on a weak hadith, and stress the fact that in the Qur’an and Hadith, jihad is clearly warfare against unbelievers, and only secondarily anything else.
But anyway, in this context it is extremely unlikely that Mahmoud Abbas meant that it was time for Palestinians to begin a spiritual struggle. It is much more likely that his actual meaning was something far more sinister. From Israel National News, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) received just over 62% of the vote, and will take Arafat’s place as Palestinian Authority chief – with a practically identical platform.
Appearing before cheering crowds last night, Abu Mazen did little to allay Israeli fears that he is no different than Arafat. He said he dedicates his victory to “brother shahid [martyr] Yasser Arafat,” to the “shahids and prisoners,” and to the “Palestinian people from Rafiach to Jenin.” The crowd responded, “A Million Shahids Marching to Jerusalem!”
Abu Mazen also said that the period of the “little Jihad [holy war] had ended, and now the big Jihad is beginning.” This quote led to a quaint exchange on Israel Radio’s morning newsmagazine. Arabic-speaking correspondent Avi Yisacharov played the tapes of Abu Mazen’s quotes, and then quickly said, “Regarding the future…” He was immediately interrupted by anchorman Aryeh Golan, who said, “Whoa, wait a second. What’s this ‘big Jihad’ stuff?” Yisacharov gave a nervous chuckle and said, “I don’t think he means a real Jihad, he just means the challenges ahead of reforms in the PA and the release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel…” Yisacharov similarly played a recording of a leading Abu Mazen supporter singing in joy at the results of the election, and explained that it was simply “an old PLO war song.”
MK Shimon Peres, who is expected to be named Associate Prime Minister this afternoon if the Knesset approves the new composition of the government, said that Abu Mazen will have to apologize for this statement, “just like he apologized for his ‘Zionist enemy’ statement.” Peres added that Abu Mazen was a “moderate, smart and experienced, and we have to give him a chance.”
Yes, those apologies will take care of the problem. Is Shimon Peres blind, or does he just expect the rest of us to be?