Leaders of Hamas and other factions who visited Iran recently seem to be satisfied with the promise they received from the mullahs in Tehran.
By Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute
As the Biden administration continues to talk about the need for confidence-building measures between Israel and the Palestinians to create an environment to reach a two-state solution, the leaders of various Palestinian factions are seeking Iran’s support for their jihad (holy war) against Israel.
Leaders of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and other factions who visited Iran recently to attend the inauguration of President Ebrahim Raisi, seem to be satisfied with the promise they received from the mullahs in Tehran.
The Biden administration wants to advance confidence-building measures between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian terrorist groups and their supporters, however, want confidence-building measures with any country that is willing to support them in realizing their dream of destroying Israel.
The Biden administration can probably promote some form of confidence-building measures between Israel and the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas. There is no way, however, that the Biden administration would be able to advance such measures between Israel and Iran’s Palestinian proxies.
Raisi and other Iranian officials assured the Palestinian leaders that Iran will continue to support the Palestinians in their fight against Israel. This means that Iran under Raisi will continue to provide the Palestinian terrorist groups in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with financial and military aid.
Iran did not promise to contribute to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of May’s 11-day war between Hamas and Israel. Iran did not promise to build new hospitals and schools in the Gaza Strip. Iran did not promise to help the two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip cope with the rising number of Covid-19 infections.
During separate meetings with the Palestinian leaders, Raisi underlined that the Islamic Republic “will continue to support Palestine as the main issue of the Muslim world.”
“We have never had and will never have any doubt about this policy,” Raisi said during the meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. “In our view, Palestine has been and will be the first issue of the Muslim world.”
Raisi lauded the Hamas leader for his optimism about eliminating Israel. He said that the rockets and missiles fired into Israel by Hamas and PIJ during the recent war showed that a great leap has been made in the fight against Israel.
“Today, signs of great victory of the resistance movement have emerged and Operation Saif Al-Quds [“Sword of Jerusalem,” the name Hamas uses to refer to the last war with Israel] was one of the signs of this victory,” Raisi added.
Haniyeh, for his part, assured the Iranian president and other senior officials in Tehran that Hamas will stand by Iran in any conflict with the US and Israel.
In a meeting with PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhalah, Raisi “stressed the importance of supporting the oppressed Palestinian people against Israeli aggression.”
Nakhalah said the Islamic Republic is a model of peaceful transition of power in the world while there was a power-transfer conflict in the US just a few months ago.
In another meeting with secretary general of the PFLP, Talal Naji, and his deputy, Abu Ahmad Fuad, the Iranian president said that “Palestine and the liberation of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) are the most important issues of the Muslim world.”
Naji, for his part, said that the fight against Israel will continue “until the final victory against the Israeli regime.” He too assured the Iranians that the Palestinian terrorist groups would “stand by the Iranian people because the Islamic Republic seeks to protect security of the entire region.”
The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, also met with the Palestinian leaders and “reaffirmed Tehran’s support for Palestine until the liberation of Jerusalem.”
Additionally, the Palestinian leaders met with the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, who told them that the “decline of the Zionist regime is a reality that can be materialized soon.” The “decline of the Zionist regime” is a euphemism for the elimination of Israel, an open and declared goal of the mullahs of Iran.
“Given the undeniable realities on the ground, we rest assured that the decline of the Zionist regime is more than a wish, a reality that can happen in the near future,” said General Salami.
He stressed that “only power can force the rebellious Zionists to go quiet. Strengthening of Palestine is a strategy and a way that should never be stopped.”
General Salami dismissed the idea that Israel is invincible: “This idea [of invincibility] collapsed suddenly with the Operation Saif al-Quds, and this battle showed that it is Palestine that has become powerful, and the decline and collapse of the fake Zionist regime is definite.”
Emboldened by the promises they received during their visit to Iran, the Palestinian faction leaders seem more defiant than ever and are stepping up their threats not only against Israel, but also against Arab countries that seek to normalize their relations with Israel.
Days after the visit to Tehran, several Palestinian factions again denounced Arabs for normalizing their relations with Israel. The warning came in response to Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s recent visit to Morocco.
The factions condemned Lapid’s visit as a “crime” against the Palestinians and called on the Arabs “to reject normalization with the Zionist entity.”
Iran’s renewed promise to help the Palestinians in their fight against Israel shows that the mullahs in Tehran feel emboldened by the perceived weakness of the Biden administration and other Western powers in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.
Apparently, Raisi and his friends in Tehran are convinced that the US and the Europeans do not care if Iran continues supplying weapons and money to Palestinian terror groups whose declared goal is to kill as many Jews as possible and annihilate Israel.
Appeasing the mullahs or failing to hold them to account for their continued support of the terrorists will lead to yet more bloodletting in the Middle East. The silence of the US and the rest of the international community towards the latest threats from Iran and its Palestinian proxies signals that it is only a matter of time before the Palestinian terror groups’ jihad toward Israel, most likely enthusiastically assisted by Iran, resurges in a way that is entirely expectable.