ISIS trying to hijack Palestinian jihad as its own

Pro-Islamic State presence within the Palestinian territories should not be exaggerated, warns expert.

October 22, 2015 07:01
2 minute read.



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Islamic State media have recently increased its rhetoric in support of the wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israel in an effort to co-opt the cause as part of its own.

The jihadist group presents itself as the political and religious authority for Muslims everywhere, with its Caliphate supporting Sunnis fighting against its enemies.

It views Muslim Brotherhood movements and its offshoots, such as Hamas, as too pragmatic and not radical enough .

In much of the Islamic world, when there are various approaches, the radical one tends to trump those deemed to be weaker.

According to a new report by The Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor of MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), Islamic State has launched a media campaign releasing a series of videos in support of terror attacks and encouraging Palestinians to carry out more.

In one video by the information office for Islamic State in the Mosul, Iraq, the narrator said: "Oh mujahideen, we call on you to prepare yourselves spiritually and materially to strike terror and fear into the hearts of the Jews... Know that the soldiers of Islam are fighting here in Iraq, Syria, Khorasan [Afghanistan], and West Africa, but their sights are set on Bayt Al-Maqdis [Jerusalem].”

According to the report, “A substantial part of these videos is dedicated to ideological attacks on Hamas and Fatah.”

“Fatah has become an agent of the infidel Jews and Christians, while Hamas is doing the bidding of the Shi'ites [Iranians] and Alawites [the Syrian regime],” it said.

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a fellow at the Middle East Forum who closely follows Islamist opposition groups in Syria and Iraq, told The Jerusalem Post that Islamic State rhetoric in support of Palestinian violence is a way for it to get into the headlines.

It also “fits in with idea of supporting the cause of Muslims everywhere,” he said.

“That said, the pro-IS presence within the Palestinian territories should not be exaggerated. It is primarily limited to small and divided pro-IS groups in Gaza,” he said, referring to Islamic State.

However, Islamic State does not need to have an operational presence on the ground in Israel to be effective, as its propaganda over the Internet can serve as an incitement tool for more attacks.

The organization holds sway in territory in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and elsewhere in the region and is spreading throughout the world, with its affiliates pushing for power as far as Afghanistan.

Arab youth in the Palestinian territories and Israel are influenced by the storm waging in neighboring countries and are willing to join the call to action and seek martyrdom for the sake of their cause.

But for now, Islamic State is more of an observer to the violence waging in Israel as local groups such as Hamas have the advantage in claiming the terror as its own because of proximity and its experience waging war against Israel, not only in words.

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