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

Palestinian ISIS Fighters Push for Engaging Israel

Filed under: Egypt, Hamas, ISIS, Israel, Israeli Security, Palestinians

ISIS rocket fire from Sinai targeting Eilat requires further examination. Up until now, ISIS has avoided antagonizing Israel. The Islamic State has a clear set of priorities – the destruction of Arab states established by the “Sykes-Picot Agreement” 100 years ago in order to prepare for the return of the Islamic Caliphate.

But ISIS has another defining characteristic – they recruit globally, and each local group pushes ISIS to carry out acts of terror in their “motherland.” Fighters from Belgium push ISIS to act in Belgium, the French in France, the Chechens in Russia, etc.

As such, the Palestinians who joined ISIS are pushing the organization to act against Israel because of the newest development, in which an alliance is forming between Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh with Egypt. This would prompt ISIS to act hastily against Israel because an Egyptian alliance with Hamas would mean that both parties would act against ISIS. Therefore, ISIS must employ leverage against Egypt and Hamas in order to prevent a coalition against ISIS. Heating up the situation on the border with Israel could be used as potential leverage.

Although we refer to Hamas as a single unit – Hamas is far from unified, since there is also a Hamas division sympathetic to ISIS that cooperates with it. This also doesn’t exclude the possibility that the Hamas faction that is sympathetic with ISIS has encouraged ISIS to act against Israel in order to prevent Gazan cooperation with Egypt against ISIS.