Why isn’t the Islamic State fighting Israel?

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

An image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, leaving the podium after addressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (Photo: AFP-al-Furqan Medi)

By: Radwan Mortada

Published Saturday, August 2, 2014

The relentless Israeli assault on Gaza has yet to stop. But even as the death toll has now surpassed 1,600, the Islamic State (IS) and its newly established “caliphate” has not moved a muscle, nor is it expected to do so anytime soon. So why is IS – formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – not fighting Israel? Would anything change if its fighters were to gain access to the borders with occupied Palestine?

While the Israeli military machine was massacring people in Gaza – and amid the euphoria among some jihadis over the news of the announcement of an “Islamic caliphate” – video footage of masked individuals firing rockets into Israel was posted online, and attributed to IS. Many cheered for what they saw as the “Muslim caliph’s” response to calls for succor from the people of Gaza, even believing the “caliphate” was very close to liberating Jerusalem. But the euphoria did not last very long.

The video turned out to be from an old footage dating back to 2012, recorded by the militant group known as the Mujahideen Shura Council, and was repurposed to be attributed to IS. IS-affiliated social media activists such as Turujman al-Asawirti were also quick to question the authenticity of the video attributed to their group.

Al-Akhbar had a number of questions for IS supporters from Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, including the following: Why has IS maintained its distance from the events in Palestine? Are the people of Gaza not Muslims after all? Does this posture not reinforce the premise that there is a hidden link between Zionism and Salafi-Jihadism that appeases Israel, or is geography alone to blame for their inaction?

In a speech by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after he installed himself as caliph of the Muslims, he spoke about the terror inflicted on Palestine, but he did so only in passing, in the wider context of the terror Muslims face around the world.

Before him, in the time of the late leader of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden, the jihadi attitude on Palestine was also controversial. Why have the jihadis never declared Palestine an arena for their jihad?

In effect, the leader of global jihadism Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri had an interesting position, approaching the issue from the angle of priorities on the basis of “Dar al-Kufr and Dar al-Islam,” or the abode of disbelief and the abode of belief in jihadi lore. Zawahiri argues that fighting in Palestine should be on the basis that it is an abode of Islam, and that therefore, liberating it is a duty for every Muslim, as stated in his speech “truths about the conflict between Islam and infidelity” in 2007. But despite this, Palestine remains at the bottom of the list of priorities for most jihadis.

In form, most adherents of Salafi-Jihadism believe that “Shias are more dangerous than Jews.” In substance, they believe that liberating Palestine is irrelevant without the establishment of the caliphate in the countries surrounding Palestine first.

Sources linked to IS told Al-Akhbar, “The final war that will liberate Palestine will be led by the caliphate, preceded by the establishment of this state in the Levant and Iraq,” on the basis of sayings they attribute to Prophet Mohammad. The sources add, “Allah alone knows just how much the soldiers of the caliphate yearn for skipping the necessary stages and battle the Jews in Palestine, but he who rushes something before its time comes shall be punished by being denied it.”

The sources, who are based in the Raqqa province of Syria, enumerate these necessary stages, saying, “The priority is to liberate Baghdad, then head to Damascus and liberate all of the Levant, before liberating Palestine.”

This is the principle that IS soldiers follow: “Fighting nearby apostates is more important than fighting faraway infidels.” To justify this, they rely on the Wars of Apostasy initiated by the Caliph Abu Bakr (against Muslims who renounced their religion following the death of the Prophet), who made it a priority over fighting infidels and Muslim conquests.

According to IS fighters, the adherents of all Islamic sects who do not submit to their “caliph” are either “apostates or misguided folk, who should be fought and killed, forced to repent and let themselves be guided, or be liberated from apostate rule.” A jihadi adds here, “We the followers of this path follow sharia not the whims of men,” adding that the Prophet had fought Quraysh first before moving on to fight the Jews of Banu Qurayza.

These sharia-based arguments are “reinforced” by the reality on the ground. A jihadi argues, “No one can initiate a battle against Israel except through the [direct] borders.” The jihadi then adds sarcastically, “Certainly, the mujahideen will not be able to bomb Israel by air,” before he said, “IS is still far from Israel. If it reaches Jordan and southern Syria (the Golan and Quneitra), then things would be different.”

The jihadis base their vision on their perception that “Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan all collaborate with Israel,” and argue that any attack they initiate would be stopped by what they call the “idolatry” regimes in the name of security. A jihadi opines, “Since the countries adjacent to Israel do not fire a single bullet at it, this means they do not want a confrontation with Israel. Any attempt to use their territories to target Israel means automatically a confrontation with these regimes. Therefore, we must first purge these countries to get to Israel.”

The IS-affiliated jihadis conclude that “the enmity the Arab countries and Arab groups have with Israel are in words not deeds, that is, only in politics and slogans. As long as this is the case, any group that wants to operate will confront these regimes.” As proof of their point, the jihadis give the example of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades’ operations out of South Lebanon, and the subsequent crackdown on the group’s members after they fired rockets into Israel. For this reason, these jihadis believe that the priority is for their “state” to expand gradually, and that everything else is meaningless and illogical.

With regards to suicide operations, the jihadis said, “This is on the table, but the time for it has not yet come."

Follow Radwan Mortada on Twitter | @radwanmortada

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


The reason ISIS is not attacking Israel is it only has so much band width of terror and it knows that if it sends one rocket or suicide bomber into Israel, the reaction will be a reign of terror on the IS like it has never seen. BTW with or without the US or UN approval. Israel is not politically correct and will defend to its death the right for survival, unlike the Irag "trained" troops who cut and run. After all Israel defended itself against the entire Arab world in the 6 day war and was miles from Cairo before it ended.

Egypt and Jordan have become quite friendly over the years with Israel these years and if ISIS attacks Israel a coalition of the three strong armies , would surely be able to wipe out ISIS and may even bring Congress together and supply them with arms, with or without the blessings of the administration.

Who knows. But unlike others on this thread I am not going to think too deeply about people's motives, especially evil people. and quite happy to believe ISIS has not attacked Israel because they know the strength ad resolve of the IDF.

Thanks for your thoughts. Always good to get a different perspective. If ISIS continues to grow and prevail, I think that they will confront Israel when their strength and timing is right. Listening to the President of Israel, makes me think that they view Iran as a bigger threat to them than ISIS. Israel, as far as I know, has not engaged in any coalition initiatives in the region. On the heels of that, they are doing an end run around the President of the U.S to the Congress, to garner a more assertive response regarding Iranian Nuclear development. In my opinion the ISIS threat is larger than Iran.
If Israel is invaded, who would they nuke. ISIS is in a position to further destabilize Palestine in concert with a Jihad attack hell bent on eliminating that state.

Israel, through it's Foreign Policy, and Isolationist approach to ISIS, has not contributed to the Coalition of coutries trying to address the behavior, and threat of these stone age barbarians. The President of Israel should realize that he can't have his "Cake of Massive Help" by the United States by way of Foreign Aidd, and not take dynamic action against the threat that if unabated, will visit his country in a savage way.
Mr. Netanyahu, the western world will judge you on your action or inaction.

Your people have been subject to this type of terrorism in the past. Don't wait for ISIS to come to you, go after them!

Us israel and aillies bigggg liers

isis is not fighting israel because they know they are fighting GOD then!!!!!!

Israel's god is Satan

Israel ate your homework.

ISIS cannot justify the killings of minority if ever they are doing for the sake of Islam, they are completely wrong, they should get educated about Islam first.

Every human has the right to live, no Calipah massacred the other communities.

You don`t have to be a Budhist to agree that every human has the right to life,health and prosperity.
But a minor correction- Caliph Abu Al Abbas Al Saffa (Abbasid Caliph) murdered every Umayyad he could put his sword to.
To return the favor, Caliph Abu Jaffar Al Mansur murdered all the Shiites he could get hold off.
And since 750 AD, the sage continues.

Caliph was trained by israel why would he attack Israel , Edward Snowden clearly stated why Islamic State was created , why would Edward lie?

what is the color of the sky in your world?

Edward didn't lie because he never said such a thing .if you follow the source then you will see the source is iran.if you believe iranian media source then I have more Sand to sell you.any one,even a fool,can see through this nonsense.

Daj (ISIS) will never attack Israel, because Daj is supported by a consortium of Israel, KSA and the United States. Daj does for them what they can't do for themselves. The anti-Israel rhetoric from Daj is just a smokescreen. They won't bite the hand that feeds them.

They will first liberate "Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan" and then pay obeisance to their alma matar, the saudis, just the way Tamarrod in Egypt did.

How very concise and to the point!

Why isn’t the Islamic State fighting Israel? Answer: Because they are funded by USA (McCain visiting them in Syria and US government giving half a billion USD to them) and Israel (who even directly treat Syrian opposition fighters in makeshift hospitals).

Qur’an from surah #86

Behold this is the Word that distinguishes (Good from Evil):
It is not a thing for amusement. As for them they are but plotting a scheme
And I am planning a scheme. Therefore grant a delay to the unbelievers: Give respite to them gently (for a while).

Time is not too far when IS will attack Israel. First their goal is to get rid of these puppets like Egypt, Saudi and Jordan. then last and final destination will be Israel.

Daj (ISIS) is fully owned and operated by a consortium of Israel, KSA and the United States. Daj does for them what they can't do for themselves. The anti-Israel talk is just to keep up appearances. They won't attack Israel until jahannam freezes over.

Since all Muslims agree that the Qur'an is the first and the ultimate arbiter of what is required of a Muslim, then any other factors can be considered only when the Qur'an is not clear. Is it not undeniably clear in the Qur'an that a Muslim 1) must profess the clear conviction that there is no god except Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, and that Muhammad, salah Allahu alayhi wa salaam, is His Messenger, 2) should pray a minimum of five times per day, 3) should pay zakat, subject to certain criteria based on his wealth, 4) should fast during the holy month of Ramadan if he is fit to do so, and 5) should make pilgrimage to the Masjid al-Haram at least once in his life if he is able.

Speaking as someone who disagrees with certain aspects of Shi'ism, in humility I believe that, whilst other actions, such as night prayers and voluntary charity, are encouraged, there is NOTHING in the Qur'an that can be used to call a Shi'a Muslim an apostate, and any hadith that could be construed in that manner must first contradict the Qur'an - something that is unacceptable and impossible in Islam. Also, whilst there may well be hypocrites who practise in public as a Muslim, but are not in reality believers, ONLY ALLAH, subhanahu wa ta'ala, can know the truth about them.

In all humility, and I ask forgiveness from al-Ghaffur, azza wa jal, if I am wrong, I also believe that the above undeniable facts make clear that not one of us has the right to call a practising Shi'ah Muslim an apostate. Since it is universally accepted in Islam that killing a fellow Muslim is a major sin, it follows that the ones who most risk Allah's anger are those who attack practising Shi'ah Muslims on the unprovable accusation that they believe them to be apostates.

Your heart Is In the right place.Killing someone who has a different belief or religion ( a matter between man and his god),Is no cause for persecution or worse. But those who do commit such acts, justify them with tailored fatwas. Each group has their house Imam who hallucinates a vision from `god` to justify a political or personal gain.Any such group of bent on murder , can produce a fatwa that calls for death to all ppl who were born on a Tuesday or their name begins with the letter `B`.Example -Imam Zamzami Abdul Bari with his ``Farewell intercourse``fatwa. Instead of rushing this Insane man to a mental facility, he gets to chair high profile Islamic study organizations.Sad and embarrassing to true believers.

Why isn’t the Islamic State fighting Israel? Because it's an Israeli/US/Saoudi creation. Channel enough money, weapons and PR to the desired bunch of nut cases and you get Daash.

No longer usefull, it will be descarded like a used condom.

the supposedly Islamic State is a proxy wing of Israel. your question would be tantamount to asking why the Saudis don't fight Israel. All these people are there to enhance Israel's hold and growth in the region.

ISIS cannot be considered as a Islamic organization unless and until they come out what really their motive is, maybe they are fighting for something else rather than Calipah. Because as per Islamic rules, Islam gives right to minorities too. The killing of innocent cannot be justified by ISIS for the sake of Islam, even what Boko Haram is doing is against the teaching of Islamic principles. Either they people are illiterate or they are born in hatred or they are asked to do so by their Western masters.
Some may ask what Western countries have to do with this? It is clear that US was supporting Syrian rebels, with arms and funds, even Obama passed a resolution to arm the rebels in Syria.

What a question... Of course those cowards ISIS would NEVER attack Israel, because let's face it: it would be suicide from them , and some nuclear bombs would "just drop out of blue" on their disgusting islamist heads! ISIS is a gang of MURDERERS funded and armed by USA,Kuweit,Qatar,Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates! Israel is also protected and maintained by USA through U.S. Foreign Aid wich from the moment they started to receive it until now,2014 ammounts to 121 billion us dollars! And it's not gonna stop anywhere soon if EVER! There are so many interests and hidden agendas for/in the middle east that it's hard to say exactly what is what , for now!
The future will show us everyone what is the "game" for middle east! It SURELY envolves OIL/PETROLEUM without wich the global economy WILL NOT FUNCTION!

The Islamic state will fight first in Lebanon to get rid of Hezbollah before fighting the Zionist regime.

That makes sense: get rid of the only force that's proven its mettle against the zionist criminal regime.
Of course Salafi/takfiri logic need not be taken seriously, but consider for a second the scenario that the moronic salafis takfiri keep proposing as is evidenced by the piece of dung Ahmad Al-Assir in this youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcGMnSiqAwk @ time point 47:28. This is where Al-assir uncovers to his students the one and only way by which Palestine will be liberated which is aptly named as "Bilad al tawk" which tranlates literally to "Countries in circle". This means that only when the countries bordering occupied Palestine become all Muslim states (a la ISIS), they then issue one unified command to go into Occupied Palestine and liberate it.
Two things you can deduce from that: Either Salafis are just not serious about fighting the zionists or the other possibility is that they're just very stupid and they think that this might work.

Left unstated here is the real answer, which is that the leaders of the "Islamic State" are perfectly aware that the Israelis would efficiently demolish them if they made any effort to go toe to toe with them.

A further question I would ask is to what extent the Islamic State is influenced by or perhaps financed by Israel. My suspicion is that they have been selling their oil to the Israelis all along.

dear Radwan, why won't you Invite them to Lebanon?Lebanon has a border with Israel.

love this! great answer!
everyone is a hero of the revolution until it comes time to have your windows blown out. I am sure that just about every Gazan except for the 3000 or so rocket crews (and maybe them too) wish that they were far away from Israel too.
Why are people so wilfully ignorant of jihadi aims? Saladin had to unite the Arabs before he could take on the Crusaders. He did it by negotiation, mainly, though he was not above sacking a city or annihilating a tribe.
These guys sort of skipped the first part and went straight for the second.
The truth is that they want to kill just about everyone on earth. But it is truly a "one at a time, wait your turn" situation.

Barry all posts on this issue are subjective and all offer real answers to the question. You nailed it for me tho. I also believe ISIS is working its way down to subjugate the majority first then strengthen in numbers mainly fellow Muslims who they intimidate and leave no choice to. From there I agree with your last sentence that the truth is they want to kill just about everyone and then one at a time wait your turn. They will try to intimidate and conquer and kill and steal and force fellow Muslims which will give them a large manpower number Using fear they will then use those fellow Muslims to attempt to force their beliefs on everyone else. Their ideology is no different than Hitler or the KKK for a small example but they did not turn on their own and kill them like ISIS

its time for all neighbouring countries to help Palestine by any means,please for the sake of Islam,the needed in Gaza and Palestine,don`t hesitate,ALLAH THE GREAT will help

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><img><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><blockquote><span><aside>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

^ Back to Top