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How the Islamic State hurts Palestinian cause

The Palestinians fear that the international preoccupation with the Islamic State threat offers the Netanyahu government a possible argument for evading serious negotiations for a two-state solution and to gain more ground with its right-wing base.
A Palestinian woman holds a sign during a protest against the visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the West Bank city of Ramallah, in Ramallah November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Awad   - RTX1VN8K

There is great frustration within the leadership of the Palestinian Authority about the shift in the international community’s agenda in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks of Nov. 13. Before that, Iran had been, for months, the focal point of interest and attention. But now — and for a considerable time period to come — it will be the Islamic State. The more moderate elements of the Palestinian leadership are questioning whether the path to international attention goes through extremism and violence.

A senior Fatah source in Ramallah told Al-Monitor, on condition of anonymity, that while many Palestinians empathize with the anti-Western sentiment prevalent in several Arab countries, the attitude toward IS is one of great hostility. He said, “We feel that IS is kidnapping Islam toward a misguided interpretation and toward a stigma of violence in the eyes of the world. IS is a disaster for Islam and for the Palestinian cause; they [the misguided interpretation and the stigma of violence] are the best allies of the Israeli right’s campaign to continue the occupation with the excuse of fighting Islamic terror. Palestinian resistance is about achieving a legitimate Palestinian state, not an Islamic caliphate.”

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