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July 11, 2014 0

ISIS Weighs In On Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Al-Battar Media tweet threat­ens: “Patience, Jews, our appoint­ment is at al-Quds [Jerusalem] tomor­row, for the one who waits is close.”

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion seek­ing to cre­ate an Islamic empire) gains con­fi­dence, ter­ri­tory and expands its exten­sive online pres­ence, the ter­ror­ist group (and its sup­port­ers) are increas­ingly mak­ing threats against Israel in response to the ongo­ing conflict.

One of ISIS’ sev­eral media wings, Al-Battar Media, tweeted a series of graph­ics threat­en­ing Israel. One graphic posted July 9 shows storm clouds over Jerusalem with a warn­ing: “Patience, Jews, our appoint­ment is at al-Quds [Jerusalem] tomor­row, for the one who waits is close.” Another image posted the same day shows the Dome of the Rock mosque super­im­posed in front of mil­i­tants and fea­tures the same language. 

ISIS’ Dawla Media Twit­ter feed, which reg­u­larly posts ISIS pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als, tweeted a quoteon July 8 pur­port­edly from a Hamas spokesman say­ing, “All our mil­i­tary oper­a­tions till now are just [a] mes­sage for Israel.”

Dawla Media has also tweeted a state­menton July 9 indi­cat­ing that ISIS must fight the sur­round­ing Arab states before it can attack Israel “because they are the pro­tec­tive fence sup­port­ing the Jews.”

Other state­ments have been tweeted from a feed asso­ci­ated with the pro-ISIS extrem­ist forum “Al-Platform Media,” which has been tweet­ing state­ments by forum users. For exam­ple, one tweet from July linked to a con­ver­sa­tion on the forum pro­claim­ing, “Allah’s curse upon those of you who have made filth on the holy places. Zion­ist dogs…I would cru­cify you.”

ISIS’s online sup­port­ers are also tweet­ing their own threats. One sup­porter wrote that the kid­nap­pings and deaths of the three Israeli teenagers Naf­tali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach would be the first of many such attacks. And at least one sup­porter posted the anti-Semitic “Khay­bar” slo­gan evok­ing the story of slay­ing thou­sands of Jews from the tribe of Khaiber in Ara­bia 1400 years ago. The slo­gan has been retweeted and favor­ited by many ISIS supporters.

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ISIS map that reads, “We fight in Lev­an­tine and our eyes are ded­i­cated towards beit al Maqdis [Jerusalem]”

ISIS pro­pa­ganda tar­get­ing Israel is not with­out prece­dent. Even before the cur­rent con­flict, maps dis­trib­uted online by ISIS demon­strat­ing its ter­ri­to­r­ial ambi­tions reg­u­larly included Israel as part of the Islamic State. A map released by ISIS in March claimed that the orga­ni­za­tion held ter­ri­tory 220km away from Israel and threat­ened rocket attacks, say­ing, “We fight in the Lev­an­tine and our eyes are toward Jerusalem.”

A video released by ISIS last month before the cur­rent con­flict included threats against Jews and Chris­tians to rally its mil­i­tants. The video includes explicit anti-Jewish state­ments, includ­ing “Wher­ever our war goes, Jew­ish rab­bis are humiliated.”

ISIS has a long his­tory of threat­en­ing Israel. As early as 2005, the organization’s pre­de­ces­sor, Al Qaeda in Iraq, claimed at least 2 rocket attacks against Israel. In 2008, the organization’s leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi issued an audio state­ment call­ing for attacks on Israel and propos­ing to use Iraq as a “launch­ing pad” for mis­sile attacks against Israel.

ISIS has become well known for its sophis­ti­cated use of social media, where it dis­sem­i­nates pro­pa­ganda, threat­ens west­ern nations and enables sup­port­ers to take part in that process.

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July 8, 2014 5

Reflections from ADL’s Jerusalem Office

By: Phyl­lis Ger­ably, Direc­tor, ADL Israel Office

I’m writ­ing these words as sirens are heard all around the coun­try. The rock­ets that Hamas just sent fell very close to my apart­ment in Jerusalem.

For the last few weeks, as ten­sions have grown, it’s very hard not to look at the pic­tures of the five young peo­ple who were mur­dered out of fanatic hate.  The com­mon denom­i­na­tor, their youth, makes it all the more shock­ing.  The coun­try seems to have had a wake-up call of how frag­ile our life is here.  Com­mu­nity lead­ers have called for restraint, but it seems that no one can embrace the dig­nity and com­pas­sion of Rachel Fraenkel, the mother of Naf­tali (of blessed mem­ory), who said when speak­ing of the mur­dered Arab youth, Mohammed Abu Khdeir,  “There is no dif­fer­ence between blood and blood.”

IronDome246We’ve barely had a chance to mourn the loss of the young peo­ple and rock­ets are being fired at sev­eral cities in Israel.  Pic­tures come to mind:  the bride in Ash­dod who wasn’t sure that her wed­ding would take place tomor­row; efforts to take the chil­dren from Sderot to the North for a respite; the call today from Car­ole, our col­league and friend who, on her way back from a con­fer­ence, had to leave her car as the siren was heard; and scenes from “the safe cen­ter” of Tel Aviv whose res­i­dents today expe­ri­enced what cit­i­zens of Sderot have been going through for years.

My grand­son didn’t sleep last night. He keeps cry­ing and ask­ing his mother if the house will be strong enough if a bomb falls. He is only five years old.

Address­ing a recent ADL mis­sion to Israel, Udi Segal, a jour­nal­ist and com­men­ta­tor for Israel Chan­nel 2, shared what the Israelis really want:  “Israelis just want quiet” he said, “with us here and the Pales­tini­ans there.”  Just quiet.

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July 7, 2014 0

Israeli Leaders Speak Out Against the Revenge Killing of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir

Israeli lead­ers expressed shock and hor­ror that Israeli Jews are appar­ently respon­si­ble for the kid­nap­ping and bru­tal mur­der of Muham­mad Hus­sein Abu Khdeir, a six­teen year old boy from the Beit Shuafat neigh­bor­hood in East Jerusalem, whose burned body was found in the Jerusalem For­est on July 2.

Six Israelis were arrested, and are believed to have car­ried out the mur­der as an act of revenge for the killing of 3 Israeli teens, Naf­tali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were kid­napped on June 12, and mur­dered by Pales­tini­ans asso­ci­ated with Hamas.

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ADL con­demned Muhammad’s mur­der and the ”alarm­ing surge” of incite­ment within Israeli society.

Fol­low­ing a con­do­lence call to the fam­i­lies of the 3 Israelis teens, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu con­demned the shock­ing killing of Muham­mad, and declared:

We do not dif­fer­en­ti­ate between the ter­ror­ists and we will respond to all of them, wher­ever they come from, with a firm hand. We will not allow extrem­ists from wher­ever they come to ignite the region and shed more blood.

The fol­low­ing day, July 7, in speak­ing to Muhammad’s father, Hus­sein Abu Khdeir,  the Prime Min­is­ter said:

I would like to express my out­rage and that of the cit­i­zen of Israel over the rep­re­hen­si­ble mur­der of your son.  We acted imme­di­ately to appre­hend the mur­der­ers.  We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.  We denounce all bru­tal behav­ior; the mur­der of your son is abhor­rent and can­not be coun­te­nanced by any human being.

Israeli Pres­i­dent Shi­mon Peres spoke emo­tion­ally to Mr. Abu Khdeir, saying:

I am ashamed on behalf of my nation and grieve with you. The only thing left for all of us to do is to ensure that no more chil­dren are mur­dered, and no more tears are shed by mothers.

Peres was joined by incom­ing pres­i­dent Ruby Rivlin in an op-ed in Yediot Ahronot , appeal­ing to Jew­ish and Arab Israelis to fight incite­ment and hate:

…there is no dif­fer­ence between blood and blood. The demo­c­ra­tic State of Israel sanc­ti­fies the moral right to life and the equal right each per­son has to be dif­fer­ent. The mur­der of a boy or a girl, Jew­ish or Arab, is an unac­cept­able act…It is our duty to stop the jour­ney of incite­ment. We must under­stand that we have no other way but to live together. The blood­shed will only stop when we all real­ize that we have not been sen­tenced to live together, but des­tined to live together. Any hes­i­ta­tion or com­pro­mise on this issue will lead to dete­ri­o­ra­tion which could be dis­as­trous not just to our life together, but to our actual life.

Join­ing the offi­cial pro­nounce­ments were those of a more per­sonal nature.  In The Times of Israel, Sherri Man­dell, the mother of thir­teen year old, Koby Man­dell who was mur­dered by Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists in 2001, harshly con­demned the killers of Muham­mad, writ­ing in a blog enti­tled  “How Dare You”:

When I heard that the three yeshiva boys, Naf­tali, Eyal, and Gil-ad, were mur­dered I admit I felt both rage and anger. Those are legit­i­mate feel­ings when young boys in your com­mu­nity are kid­napped and mur­dered. But the Jew­ish way is always to choose life, not death. To seek jus­tice, not vengeance. Jus­tice is not burn­ing another inno­cent human being alive. Jus­tice is allow­ing the gov­ern­ment to find the mur­der­ers and pun­ish them. I am con­cerned about how the world views us in Israel. But I am more con­cerned about what we say and think about our­selves. What can we believe about our own soci­ety now that you have weak­ened our integrity? We are guilty of com­mit­ting an abom­inable depraved act.

Per­haps the most poignant con­dem­na­tions came from the fam­i­lies of the three Israeli teens.  Naf­tali Fraenkel’s uncle, Yishai, reached out to the Abu Khdeir fam­ily and said:  “there is no dif­fer­ence between those who mur­dered Muham­mad, and those who mur­dered our chil­dren. Those are mur­der­ers, and these are mur­der­ers. And both must be dealt with to the full extent of the law, and we told him that.”

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