Jerusalem truck attack: Why is Israeli PM blaming Islamic State

Islamic State is known to have no foothold in Palestine, yet Israel's PM blamed the Jerusalem truck attack on the terror group.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed the weekend’s truck attack in Jerusalem on an Islamic State-inspired man, raising fears about the influence of the terror group in Palestinian territories. However, Netanyahu may have jumped the gun in pining the blame, as an Israeli police spokesperson had earlier told a media outlet that there weren’t any known ISIS cells in the territory.

Till now, no terror group including Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed four Israeli soldiers and left 10 others wounded.

Palestinian Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, one of Palestine’s territories, has praised the truck attack and urged its supporters to carry out similar attacks, but has stopped short of claiming responsibility. According to a report in The New York Times, people in Palestinian territories were seen handing out sweets in the wake of the attack.

(Source: Youtube/DW)

What does Israel gain if IS is found in Israel?

  • Not only has Trump not shied away from coming out in support of Israel against the stand of Barack Obama and many European governments, the incoming president has also rattled Palestinian politicians by announcing a right-wing Israel sympathiser as his ambassador’s pick to Tel Aviv. The Trump’s envoy pick to Israel, David Friedman, has backed the idea of moving the US embassy to the disputed city of Jerusalem from Israel’s capital Tel Aviv.
  • Netanyahu’s allegations about ISIS involvement risk escalating state violence and counter-attack in the Middle-Eastern country, where political tension is believed to be on the rise following a recent UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, a disputed territory seen as the future capital of a free Palestinian state.
  • In the wake of Netanyahu’s allegations regarding Islamic State’s role, Israeli authorities are reportedly pondering cracking down on ISIS sympathisers and supporters in the wake of the truck attack. However, security experts have on several occasions in the past noted that Islamic State doesn’t have a foothold in Palestine.
  • Netanyahu, who is know for his hawkish views, may well be looking to discredit the Palestinian movement by alleging the role of a terrorist movement that’s bee t war with the West in Syria. Netanyahu may also be laying the groundwork for a greater American participation in the Israel-Palestinian dispute under incoming President elect Donald Trump, who condemned the recent UN Security Council vote condemning Israel.
  • Trump’s hawkish pick for Israeli envoy goes well along with his strategy in regards to Muslims. Through his presidential campaign, the 70-year old New Yorker has maintained that he would take steps to defeat the terror group.  “We cannot let this evil continue. Nor can we let the hateful ideology of radical Islam, its oppression of women, gays, children and nonbelievers be allowed to reside or spread within our own countries,” Trump was quoted as saying during a campaign speech in August. A media report in US-based Foreign Policy Magazine earlier this week speculated that Trump may well authorize US ground operations in Syria to combat Islamic State.
  • Israeli government has been criticized by Europe and recently the US for continue their building activity in East Jerusalem. According to an estimate by an Israeli group, over 530,000 Israelis are living in East Jerusalem, which is legally a Palestinian territory. Israel’s recent moves to ramp up building activity in East Jerusalem puts at risk the fragile peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the politically troubled country.