Talking Palestine with Islamic State

Talking Palestine with Islamic State
An interview with a Palestinian IS supporter has revealed the armed group cares little for Palestinians' struggle.
3 min read
31 October, 2014
Liberating Gaza is not among IS' short-term goals [Getty]

After months of silence, the question why the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS) ignored Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip this summer is beginning to be answered. 

In an interview with pro-IS news agency Amaq, Abu Azzam al-Ghazi introduces himself as a Palestinian who travelled from Gaza to join the group.

Ghazi began by saying his views did not represent IS' official ideology. And he does appear to be speaking informally: members of organisations such as this rarely deviate from their groups' ideology and policies during interviews. His views can be summarised as follows:

- "Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and other names like this mean nothing.

      Liberating Palestine is a long-term goal, not an immediate goal for IS

They are all Muslim countries and all Muslims must unite under Islamic law. 

- "What is happening in Palestine is now a territorial conflict, which is not seeking to enforce sharia and subject people to it.

- "Liberating Palestine is a long-term goal, not an immediate goal for IS. 

- "There is no point in liberating Palestine unless it is to be governed by God's law, and united with other Muslim countries. Look at Egypt, Algeria, Pakistan and all other Muslim countries without exception. They are not under occupation but they are miserable because God's law is not being applied. 

- "IS measures to liberate Palestine include creating a united front of Muslims in surrounding countries living under legitimate Islamic leadership. This will rid them of tyrants and ensure future generations are brought up under Islamic law.

- "The tactic of creating a united front is not unknown to Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina and set up his state there, leaving Mecca to the Quraysh tribe - but later returning to purify it from idol-worshippers. He set up a solid base in Medina from which the Muslims would later conquer the Arabian Peninsula and the whole world.

- "The prophet fought many battles before conquering Mecca. His efforts were not confined to liberating Mecca as most Muslims these days believe. Islam's mission to spread monotheism goes far beyond liberating one Muslim country - no matter how sacred its cause might be.

- "Resisting Israel does not solve the root cause. It is only a quick fix. The solution is to remove the Zionist state and set up an Islamic one.

- "Hamas claims to be leading the jihad in Palestine. It took control of Gaza and governed it with the man-made laws of Fatah, not the law of God.

- "Hamas killed jihadis when they tried to correct the direction the country was heading in. It went after them, confiscated their weapons and prevented them responding to repeated intrusions on the al-Aqsa Mosque, the killing of prisoners and other crimes.

- "The media has blown Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement's capabilities out of proportion in the past two attacks on the Gaza Strip, including their useless rocket attacks on Israeli cities. This is a campaign to stir up the Muslims' emotions.

- "What has the resistance achieved after the past two attacks, except an Israeli promise of a few miles of sea for fishing, and an increase in the volume of goods coming into Gaza?

- "The alternative is a more effective military solution, one that adopts the right tactics and will hopefully achieve victory. Muslims should migrate to IS and wage jihad under its banner. God will enable some to come, while those who cannot can support IS from wherever they are by all possible means."

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the interviewee, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.