ISIS And Israel

Yishai Schwartz argues that the Islamic State has killed off chances for an Israeli-Palestinian peace:

Israel sees a region in flames and a proliferation of terrorist groups. As governments fall and brutal militants seize territory all around them, the guarantee of a paper treaty seems scant protection. Who knows what government will even be there tomorrow? What good is a treaty when terrorists with rocket launchers control territory mere miles from your cities?

In his speech at the United Nations just a few days ago, this was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s central theme:

“States are disintegrating. Militant Islamists are filling the void. Israel cannot have territories from which it withdraws taken over by Islamic militants yet again, as happened in Gaza and Lebanon. That would place the likes of ISIS within mortar range – a few miles – or 80 percent of our population.”

These are not the words of a man prepared for imminent and far-reaching territorial concessions. Netanyahu has long had something of a pre-Egyptian treaty strategic mindset. Now, with al-Nusra and Hezbollah sitting on Israel’s northern border, Hamas in Gaza and most frighteningly, an unstable Jordan threatened by ISIS to the East, who really can blame him?

But Nathan J. Brown disputes the Israeli PM’s facile views on ISIS, particularly his “Hamas=ISIS” propaganda:

The rise of ISIS and its rivalry with other groups does pose a challenge but in a less direct way than Netanyahu suggests. In a visit earlier this month to Jordan, I found Da’ash (as ISIS is known according to its Arabic acronym) on everybody’s lips regardless of an individual’s political affiliation. Those of an Islamist bent regarded the upstart as a challenge and a rival, not an ally. …

But that places the leadership of some of the groups Netanyahu identifies in a very awkward position. On the one hand, they reject Da’ash’s ideas, methods, textual interpretations and agenda. On the other hand, they note that Da’ash defiance strikes some chords among the youth and that its actions grab agenda-setting attention. Their response is therefore somewhat guarded — to criticize Da’ash’s deeds and doctrines but in tones that fall far short of the horrified revulsion expressed elsewhere. The result sounds cagey and calculated — because it is.