What ISIS Talks About When It Talks About Palestine

And Why We Should Worry

Palestinian Salafists wave flags during a protest in Gaza city, January 19, 2015. Suhaib Salem / Reuters

One month ago, the Islamic State (also called ISIS) released a video message to the people of Palestine. The video, in which ISIS members urged Palestinians to remain patient as they actively fight for the caliphate, included a rare public reference to clashes in Gaza between suspected ISIS affiliates and Hamas earlier this year. The clashes were triggered by a mixture of factors, including the ongoing siege of Gaza, the area’s increased isolation from Egypt, and Hamas’ poor record of governing. With violence apparently increasing in the Palestinian territories—to the extent that some observers have even speculated about the possibility of a third intifada and potential power vacuum—the question of ISIS’ real intentions in the region has never been more pressing. 


Palestine has long been at the center of one of the most heated and polarizing global debates. Historically, many groups have claimed to

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