By now, it has become clear that our young Palestinian men and women have learned a lot from the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.
This new "intifada" that some Palestinians are now waging against Israel should be seen in the context of the wider jihad that is being waged by the Islamic State, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda against the "infidels, Zionists, apostates, Crusaders" and against non-extremist Muslims.
The tactics employed by Palestinian youths over the past two weeks show that they are doing their utmost to copy the crimes and atrocities committed by the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other Arab countries.
Although the Islamic State is not physically present in the West Bank or Jerusalem (largely thanks to the efforts of the Israel Defense Forces and other Israeli security agencies), there is no denying that its spirit and ideology are hovering over the heads of many of our young men and women.
The current wave of stabbings of Jews in Israel and the West Bank is an attempt to imitate Islamic State terrorists who have been using knives to behead many Muslims and non-Muslims during the past two years.
Like the Islamic State, many of the Palestinian terrorists who recently stabbed Jews saw themselves as jihadis acting in the name of Allah, the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed. This was evident by the Palestinian terrorists' cries of "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is Greater!"] as they pounced on their victims. Our young men and women must have been watching too many videos of Islamic State jihadis shouting "Allahu Akbar!" as they beheaded or burned their victims.
The stabbing attacks that were carried out in the past two weeks were actually attempts to slit the throats of Jews, regardless of their age and gender. In most instances, the terrorists were aiming for the upper part of the body, focusing on the victims' throats and necks. The Palestinian terrorists are now trying to replace Islamic State jihadis as the chief "butchers" of human beings in the Middle East. For now, they seem to be partially successful in their mission.
Our young men and women have learned from the Islamic State not only the practice of stabbing the "infidels," but also how to destroy religious sites. On Thursday night, scores of Palestinians attacked and torched Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus, in scenes reminiscent of the Islamic State's destruction of ancient and holy sites in Syria and Iraq.
The shrine was set on fire for no reason other than that it is revered as the tomb of a Jewish biblical figure. This is a site frequented by Jewish worshippers, although it is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its security forces in Nablus. It is worth noting that agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians guarantee access for Jewish worshippers to Joseph's Tomb, and there were assurances to the Israelis that the PA could be trusted to safeguard the site.
What the Palestinians did to Joseph's Tomb is no different from what the Islamic State and other terrorist groups have been doing to holy sites and archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq. The Palestinians who attacked Joseph's Tomb were obviously influenced by the crimes of the Islamic State against religious and ancient sites.
What is still not clear is why the Palestinian Authority security forces, which maintain a tight grip on Nablus, did nothing to prevent the arson attack.
How can our leaders in Ramallah accuse Jews of "contaminating" the Aqsa Mosque with their "filthy feet" at a time when our youths burn a religious site such as Joseph's Tomb?
This is not the only Jewish holy site that has been targeted by Palestinians in recent years. While our leaders are screaming day and night about Jews "invading" and "desecrating" the Aqsa Mosque, Palestinians from Bethlehem have been throwing stones, petrol bombs and explosive devices at Rachel's Tomb near the city. This has been going on for several years now, in an attempt to kill Jewish worshippers and the Israeli soldiers guarding Rachel's Tomb.
The attacks on Joseph's and Rachel's Tombs in Nablus and Bethlehem are part of a Palestinian-Islamic campaign to destroy Jewish holy sites and deny any Jewish link to the land. The attacks are an attempt to rewrite history so that Jews will not be able to claim any religious ties to the land. This is exactly what the Islamic State is doing these days in Syria and Iraq: "erasing history that lets us to learn from the past."
The terror campaign that we have been waging against Israel in the past few weeks shows that the Islamic State and Islamic fundamentalism and fascism have invaded the minds and hearts of many of our young men and women. We have turned the conflict with Israel into a jihadi war, the goal of which is to slaughter Jews, erase their history and expel them from this part of the world. This is not an intifada. This is brutal killing spree targeting Jews of all ages, including a 13-year-old boy, a 72-year-old woman and a 78-year-old man.
President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders are lying to us -- and the rest of the world -- when they describe the stabbing attacks against Jews as a "peaceful popular resistance." This is not a struggle against "occupation" or a wall or a checkpoint. It is time to recognize that this is an Islamic State-inspired jihad to slaughter as many Jews as possible and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. When and if the Islamic State is finally eliminated or disappears, the Palestinians will emerge as the successors of one of the most brutal and murderous Islamic gangs that has surfaced in modern history.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.