Hamas and Islamic State: The Honeymoon is Over

Jan. 11 2018

Last week, the Sinai branch of Islamic State (IS) released a video of its men executing a Hamas terrorist-turned-IS terrorist for smuggling arms and people from the Sinai to the Hamas regime in Gaza. Is the close cooperation between the two groups, which has lasted for several years, coming to an end? Bassam Tawil draws out the implications:

There are many Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who have joined IS in the past few years . . . [and many of these] are former members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, [an Iran-backed group that enjoys cordial relations with Hamas]. Some even held senior positions in the armed wings of those two terror groups.

The business of smuggling weapons and terrorists across the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has flourished for many years. Until recently, IS and Hamas were in full cooperation in this business, [which] undoubtedly facilitated some of the major terror attacks against Egyptian civilians and the Egyptian army carried out by IS in the Sinai in recent years.

IS, [however], is now making it clear that it has its eyes set on the Gaza Strip. By calling on Palestinians to rebel against Hamas, IS hopes to facilitate its mission of infiltrating Gaza. Its previous attempts to do so have been successfully thwarted by Hamas. Hamas brooks no competition. Ever. . . .

This is . . . a power struggle between two ruthless Islamic jihadist terror groups who have much in common regarding strategy and ideology. . . . For now, no one knows where this IS-Hamas feud is headed. What is certain is that the ongoing attempts by IS to infiltrate the Palestinian arena should worry not only Palestinians but Israel and Egypt as well.

If IS manages to get a toehold in the Gaza Strip, they will be that much closer to Israel’s doorstep, and their jihadists minutes from Israeli towns and cities. For the Egyptians, this means that one day they will have to fight IS not only in the Sinai but also inside the Gaza Strip. The biggest losers, once again: the Palestinians.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, ISIS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Sinai Peninsula

While Pursuing a Thaw with Israel, Saudi Arabia Foments Anti-Semitism at Home

July 18 2018

For the better part of this century, Jerusalem and Riyadh have cooperated clandestinely to contain Iran’s growing power. The kingdom has also increasingly aimed its diplomatic and propaganda efforts against Qatar, whose funding of Islamist groups—including Hamas—has damaged both Saudi Arabia and Israel. But, writes Edy Cohen, there’s a dark side to Riyadh’s efforts against the enemies of the Jewish state:

The [Saudi cyberwarfare agency’s] Twitter account tweets daily, mostly against Qatar and Iran. It uses anti-Semitic terminology, referring to Qatar as “Qatariel,” a portmanteau of Qatar and Israel, and claiming the [Qatar-sponsored] Al Jazeera network “belongs to the Israeli Mossad.”

“‘The deal of the century’ is a Qatari scheme to sell Palestine to the Zionist entity,’” one tweet reads, while another alleges that the “Zionist” Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the father of [Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is scheming to divide the Arab states to fulfill the dreams of the “Zionist entity” and Iran. Yet another tweet alleges that Qatar is “trying to destroy the Arab world to serve the enemies of the Muslim world: Israel and Iran.” These statements penetrate deep into the Arab consciousness and increase existing hatred toward Jews and Israel.

The Saudis, then, are playing a double game. Behind the scenes, they send the Israelis the message that Iran is a common enemy and goad them to fight Iran and Hizballah. At home, however, they say the enemy is first and foremost the state of Israel, followed by Iran. Their formula is clear: covert ties with Israel coupled with overt hostility to the Jewish state to satisfy the people, a majority of whom hate Israel.

The Saudi double game is reminiscent of the Egyptian model under President Gamal Abdel Nasser in that dozens of anti-Semitic articles are published daily, while the Israeli populace is not exposed to the phenomenon and the politicians close their ears. Following the signing of the 1994 Oslo Accords, the Palestinians asked Israel for permission to incite “moderately” against the Jewish state for “domestic needs.” This incitement turned deadly and was used as live ammunition for the boycott, sanctions, and divestment movement (BDS). We must not give in and accept the incitement against us, and that is also true when Saudi Arabia is concerned. Incitement translates into action, and that action comes at a price.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israel & Zionism, Qatar, Saudi Arabia