Wake up!!! There is a big threat developing in Gaza and the West Bank, but it isn’t the threat of another intifada or a missed chance to achieve a peace agreement. It is the growth of the Islamist anti-Israel anti-West group now known as “The Islamic State,” formerly known as ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
If you are one of those people whose primary concern over the past few years has been how to get Israel and the Palestinians to sit down and have effective peace negotiations, you’re going to be caught off guard by this development, because it is much worse than the worst possibilities presented by your opponents. If you’ve been reticent to push Israel into negotiations because things on the Palestinian side as far as leadership and control have been questionable, you’re still going to have to change your mindset, because you’ve been focused on Hamas. This isn’t about Hamas not being able to recognize a Jewish state or even to conclude an effective truce. It’s about a group far more radical than Hamas being willing to kill those who would consider such a thing.
Now, we have to wonder whether or not people who once were affiliated with Hamas and conduct terrorist activities, still are. We assumed that the three students kidnapped by two men who had been associated with Hamas were kidnapped in an attempt to trade for prisoners on behalf of Hamas. But what if they were kidnapped and murdered by ISIS? A group claiming to be ISIS in the West Bank claimed responsibility right away. Additionally, Israeli Arab Muslim journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote today of the fact that Hamas is losing control of terror cells in Gaza to the Islamic State. Islamic State affiliated terror cells are also said to be firing rockets at Israel out of Gaza. The Israeli government would like for Hamas to stop these people, but they may not be able to do so.
The threat from the Islamic State is growing rapidly. Why?
For a long time, Islamists felt that the Muslim Brotherhood would be able to overcome the nationalist dictatorships and toss the pro-West governments, including Zionists, out of the region. The collapse of the Morsi regime in Egypt, the failure to oust Assad in Syria, and the weakening of Hamas in Gaza due to the restriction of cross border smuggling has led Islamists to look for alternatives to the Muslim Brotherhood. The success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria is providing hope to the most radical people and encouraging them to declare allegiance.
Toameh notes that Hamas denies ISIS has support in the Gaza strip,
But Hamas seems to be trying to cover the sun with one finger. At the funeral of two Islamists killed by the Israel Defense Forces last week in Gaza, funeral-goers carried flags and banners of ISIS.
Already last month, according to Toameh:
Hamas sent its policemen and militias to disperse a rally organized by ISIS followers in the Gaza Strip to celebrate the recent “military victories” of the terrorist group in Iraq. Hamas prevented local journalists from covering the event as part of its attempt to deny the existence of ISIS in the Gaza Strip.
At the rally, attended by dozens of Islamists, the crowd chanted, “Khaybar, Khyabar, Ya Yahud, Jaish Mohamed Saya’ud!” (“O Jews, Mohamed’s army will return.”)
The movement is growing stronger and we need to wake up to a new threat that is even more radical and hate filled than previous ones.