ISIS And Hamas Linked Says Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

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Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu at a News Conference in Jerusalem
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a news conference at his office in Jerusalem August 6, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Hollander

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has associated ISIS with Hamas following the release of the headline-grabbing James Foley beheading video. However, the prime minister's comparisons were not warmly received by Israel's allies and foes.

According to reports, Mr Netanyahu takes pride in using props, visual aids and catchy quips whenever he appears in public for press conferences or speeches. He speaks fluent English because he was raised in the United States.

The Israeli prime minister said that "Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas." After declaring this statement at a news conference, he also used the slogan on his Twitter account. As the Israel's military strike against Hamas in Gaza continues, the prime minister is seeking international support.

Reports said the international community sees nothing wrong with Israel defending itself from rockets firing from Gaza. However, the images of Palestinian children being killed and other scenes of war have made the world "uncomfortable."

More than 2,100 people have been killed in Gaza as Israeli airstrikes destroy buildings and structures. The United Nations and Palestinian authorities said most of those who died were civilians including about 500 children.  All but four of Israel's casualties were soldiers.

While most of the world agrees that ISIS is a "monstrous organisation" as described by heads of states including religious leaders, there is somewhat a debate on Hamas. Mr Netanyahu told reporters that ISIS and Hamas are "branches of the same poisoned tree." He has framed the Gaza conflict as part of the broader international war against the threat of Islamic militants.

Mr Netanyahu went on to say both organisations have been involved in extra-judicial killings. He cited Hamas' shooting of suspected spies for Israel in public.

When asked for comment about the Israeli prime minister's comparison, U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said the country sees both ISIS and Hamas as terrorist groups. She said both of the groups were different since they don't have the same leadership. She added that no comparison should be made in that matter.

Upon learning of the comparison, Hamas condemned it and said it did not seek a battle against the Western countries. Hamas official Izzat Risheq denounced ISIS for executing James Foley in a "brutal manner." Risheq then proceeded to differentiate Hamas from ISIS. He said his organisation is a "national liberation movement" with forces called "freedom fighters seeking the liberation of the Palestinian people."

Israeli forces have accused Hamas of using "human shields" when fighting. ISIS has beheaded children, buried women alive and sold women as "sex slaves." Observers said Hamas may be "more pragmatic" but the organisation is still capable of "brutality." 

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