Hamas kan bli nødt til i en periode fremover nå å roe ned agitasjon mot og angrep på Israel. I januar i år så man den første IS-demonstrasjonen på Gaza. Den foregikk på utsiden av Det franske kultursenteret.
Det kan bli flere slike demonstrasjoner, og man skal heller ikke se bort fra at IS kunne tenke seg å erobre både Gaza og Vestbredden.
Hardly a week passes without another report of a Palestinian killed while fighting for the Islamic State terror group.
The reports have raised deep concern among many Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A recent report estimated that some 100 Palestinians have already joined Islamic State. Other reports claim that the number is much higher.
According to the report, most of the Palestinians who joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are from the Gaza Strip. Another 1000 Palestinian men are believed to be preparing to join Islamic State, but have been unable to fulfill their dream for various reasons, the report revealed.
It is no surprise that most of the Palestinians who have joined the Islamic State are from the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Hamas since 2007.
In the past year, various reports have suggested that Islamic State and its supporters have managed to infiltrate the Gaza Strip, where they pose a major threat to Hamas’s rule over the area, home to some 1.6 million Palestinians.
Earlier this year, Islamic State supporters organized their first public appearance on the streets of Gaza City, where they called for an Islamic army to destroy Israel and the «enemies of Islam.»
Although the number of Palestinians who have joined the Islamic State remains relatively low, it is evident that the terror group has become extremely popular among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Four public opinion polls published a few weeks ago showed that at least a million Palestinians support the Islamic State.
The polls found that 24% of the Palestinians hold positive views about the Islamic State. Given that there are 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and another 2.7 million in the West Bank, this means that there are more than one million Palestinians who support Islamic State.
Commenting on the results of the polls, Christian activist Sam Butrous noted that the widespread support for the Islamic State among Palestinians is a sign of increased extremism and a denial of Christians’ rights in the Holy Land. «Apparently, 20% of the Palestinians have no problem with expelling their Christian brothers and destroying their churches and turning them into mosques,» he wrote. «This is what the Islamic State terror group is already doing in areas under its control.»
Christians are not the only ones who should be worried about the Islamic State’s growing influence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians’ two governments, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), also have good reason to be worried. In recent weeks, Islamic State spokesmen have issued threats against both the PA and Hamas, accusing them of «collaboration» with the «Zionist entity.»
But the PA and Hamas can only blame themselves for the surge of Palestinians joining the Islamic State. The two governments allow anti-Western incitement in their mosques and media outlets. Their leaders regularly glorify and endorse Palestinians who carry out terror attacks against Israelis, thus encouraging other Palestinians to follow suit. And if these Palestinians are unable to carry out attacks against Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they travel to Syria and Iraq to join the jihad against Israel’s allies, namely the U.S. and other Western countries.
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot evade responsibility for inspiring dozens of Palestinians to join the Islamic State. The fiery rhetoric of these leaders, in addition to the ongoing incitement against Israel and the West, is further radicalizing Palestinians and driving them into the Islamic State’s open arms.