The Islamic State terror group published an article explaining why it does not attack the Jewish state, arguing that the Palestinian issue should not get preferential treatment.
On March 15, the Islamic State weekly newspaper al-Naba ran a story entitled, “Beit Al-Maqdis [Jerusalem]…First and Foremost an Issue of Shari’a Law,” in which the terror group justified its lack of attacks on Israel to the wider Muslim community.
The Islamic State has not carried out an orchestrated attack on Israel, though independent cells inspired by the terror group’s ideology have been arrested by Israeli security forces, several dozen Israeli Arabs are said to have been recruited by IS, and terrorists including Nashat Milhem — who murdered three Israelis in Tel Aviv on January 1 — have identified with IS. Israeli officials have warned that IS will turn its attention to Israel at some stage.
In the article, which was translated by watchdog group MEMRI, the Islamic State argued that the Palestinian cause does not take precedence over any other jihadi struggle.
“If we look at the reality of the world today, we will find that it is completely ruled by polytheism and its laws, except for the regions where Allah made it possible for the Islamic State to establish the religion…. Therefore, jihad in Palestine is equal to jihad elsewhere,” the article said.
The article also harshly criticized Arab “exaggerators” who have pressed the decades-old belief that “Palestine is the Muslims’ primary cause.” Among those mentioned in this context were the former Arab nationalist leaders Egyptian Gamal Abdel Nasser and Iraqi Saddam Hussein, “who traded in the Palestinian issue and sold delusions to their followers,” the article said.
There is a place, however, where jihad does take precedence, according to the article: in the Arab states that are governed by “tyrants.” First and foremost among these is the Saudi kingdom, where the two holy Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina must be rescued from the Saudi royal family.
“The apostate [tyrants] who rule the lands of Islam are graver infidels than [the Jews], and war against them takes precedence over war against the original infidels,” the article said.
For the Islamic State, ‘Jihad in Palestine is equal to jihad elsewhere.’
Despite the fact that the Islamic State ranks in Syria and Iraq are swelled by fighters from across the world, the article calls for jihadists to take the fight to “infidels” nearest to them. Therefore, fighting the Jews should be left to Muslims in Israel/Palestine, while Syrian Muslims should fight Bashar Assad and Egyptian Muslims should fight Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
Only once a Muslim’s native land has fallen under proper Islamic rule, the article said, should he attack the adjacent infidel land.
The key argument the article makes is that once the Arab regimes, which supposedly defend Israel, are toppled, then jihadi forces can arrive “at the borders of [the] Jew[ish] State and confront its army directly.”
‘Attack the Jews and their allies wherever [you] find them’
While much of the article seeks to diminish the importance of the Palestinian cause among jihadists, the author still believes it is the religious duty of every Muslim to help rescue Palestine from the “environs of the Jews.”
This is because the land was once part of the Islamic empire, and therefore, there is a religious imperative for all Muslims to help bring it back into the “house of Islam,” the article said.
The article said that Muslims worldwide, therefore, have a duty to send aid — money or men — to the Palestinians fighting Israel.
And lastly, if they can’t come to the Middle East or do not have money, it argues, they can attack “the Jews and their allies wherever they find them, [by] killing them, destroying their property, and harming their interests in any way they can.”