Skip to content
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Was ISIS behind the Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem on January 8?

Filed under: ISIS, Jerusalem, Palestinians, Radical Islam

Was ISIS behind the Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem on January 8?
Caliphate propaganda poster. Is it for real?

The inspiration of ISIS on the attacker from the Jerusalem neighborhood Jabal Mukaber requires explanation. In principle, the Islamic State, at least at this stage, does not pay attention to Israel, and the Palestinian struggle does not interest ISIS. On the contrary, ISIS made it clear to the Palestinians, more than once, that ISIS does not support a Palestinian state because ISIS wants to eliminate all Arab states to establish the Islamic caliphate on the ruins of the Arab countries.

ISIS is not even a partner to the Palestinian campaign that “Al-Aqsa Mosque is in Danger.” Leaflets distributed by ISIS in Jerusalem incite against Christians but make no mention of Al-Aqsa. In all of ISIS’s publications to date, there has not been a single mention of the Palestinian struggle, Israel, or even Jerusalem.

So, What Inspired the Attack in Jerusalem on January 8, 2017?

There is a phenomenon in ISIS of various nationalities joining the organization. ISIS encourages terror against their states from within – French against France, Belgians against Belgium, Chechens against Russia, etc. The same rule applies to the Palestinians who join ISIS and try to pull ISIS towards the Palestinian cause and Israel. For example, in the area of ​​the Golan Heights, an ISIS enclave in the southern Syrian Golan did not act against Israel until a new commander was appointed – a Jordanian of Palestinian origin. Then ISIS in the enclave started pointing their weapons against the IDF in the Golan. Following the quick and decisive response of Israel, the ISIS enclave fell silent, probably because of orders from the headquarters of ISIS in Rakka, which has no interest in getting involved at this point with Israel.

Note that, until now ISIS did not take any responsibility for the attack in Jerusalem on January 8.

Israel should not be the only one concerned about Palestinian involvement in ISIS, but also the Palestinian Authority, because Palestinian recruits to ISIS could direct their fire against the PA, as well.