memri

July 16, 2019
Clip No.
7354

Captured Israeli-Arab ISIS Fighter Sayyaf Sharif Daoud: Israel Isn't Nearly As Bad As Assad's Regime; Israel Treats Arabs Justly, Equally to Jews

Sayyaf Sharif Daoud, a captured Israeli-Arab ISIS fighter who holds Israeli citizenship, said in a July 16, 2019 interview on BBC Arabic (U.K.) with correspondent Feras Kilani that he had joined ISIS instead of the Palestinian resistance because his experience of having lived through the Second Intifada and of having lived in the West Bank and in Israel had taught him that Israel "has not done one percent of what Bashar Al-Assad has done." He explained that despite the fighting, Israel has never raped women or brutally killed people like the Assad regime has. Daoud also said that his father had warned him against joining Hamas and Fatah, and he expressed regret at having joined ISIS. He said he hopes that Israel will take him back so that his life can return to normal. Daoud added that Israel is a democracy in which he has not seen injustice and in which Arabs and Jews live together and are treated equally.

Feras Kilani: "To be honest, there is something that I do not understand, and many Arab viewers probably do not understand it either. At the end of the day, you are an Israeli Arab. You are also a Muslim, we are not talking about a..."

Sayyaf Sharif Daoud: "Right."

Feras Kilani: "If you tell Arab viewers that someone came from Israel to join ISIS, the first thing they would say is: 'Go and defend your own land.' How did you rationalize this for yourself?"

Sayyaf Sharif Daoud: "By Allah, the answer is going to surprise you. I lived through the Second Intifada. I have seen war. I lived in the West Bank and in Israel. Israel has not done one percent of what Bashar Al-Assad has done. There was fighting and all that, but Israel has not raped women or stripped them naked on TV, and it has not killed with such barbarity. True, there was fighting..."

Feras Kilani: "Isn't there a part of you that considers itself Palestinian, and not Israeli?"

Sayyaf Sharif Daoud: "What do you mean by 'Palestinian'? I am an Israeli citizen, but I am a Palestinian..."

Feras Kilani: "Didn't your religious fervor drive you to join Hamas?"

Sayyaf Sharif Daoud: "No. To be honest, my father warned me against [joining] Hamas and Fatah."

[...]

Feras Kilani: "When you are sitting and thinking alone at night, how do you see your future?"

Sayyaf Sharif Daoud: "By Allah, I have wronged myself. I hope that the state takes me back and that I can return to..."

Feras Kilani: "Israel."

Sayyaf Sharif Daoud: "A person can rethink things and return to normal life."

Feras Kilani: "Do you really think that Israel will accept you back if you return?"

Sayyaf Sharif Daoud: "Look, Israel is a democratic state. I have not seen injustice there. Us Arabs live together in Israel with the Jews. There is no injustice. We are treated just like the Jews."