In a renewed effort to bolster anti-Israel activity, PA Chair Mahmoud Abbas will visit Iran and is working to consolidate ties with the Islamic Republic.
By: Palestinian Media Watch
(With files from Atara Beck, World Israel News)
Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas will be visiting Tehran in the near future in order to strengthen bilateral ties. Abbas Zaki, a senior official of Fatah, the PA’s ruling party, who is traveling to Iran to arrange Abbas’ visit, said the ties are “an inevitable step if we [the Palestinians] want to confront the Israeli occupation,” as reported this week in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official PA daily.
Iran has been a significant supplier of weapons used in terror against Israel. For instance, it was behind the shipping of 50 tons of weapons to the PA on the ship “Karine A” that Israel intercepted in 2002 as well as the Iranian weapons-laden “Klos C” that the IDF captured in March, 2014.
Earlier this month, Abbas had already sent a senior official to Tehran to deliver a personal letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani concerning “Israeli offensives against ‘our people and its holy places,'” according to the Jordanian online Watan News Agency. Ironically, it is the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic religious trust), which controls the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, that abuses non-Muslims visiting the site.
PLO Executive Committee Member Ahmed Majdalani was sent “to repair its relations with Iran… and it was agreed to determine actual steps to bring the occupation to an end, in addition to Palestinian participation in resolving the Syrian crisis. This is due to the fact that President Abbas’ initiative and the Iranian initiative to end the war taking place there intersect,” says independent Palestinian news agency Ma’an.
Significantly, the PA has been reluctant up until now to take sides publicly in the Syrian civil war, in which Iran has been the main supporter of the forces of Syrian President Assad. It may be that in the interest of receiving Iranian aid, the PA is willing to side with the Assad regime.
At that first meeting it was decided to schedule the Abbas visit to Iran and that Abbas Zaki will lead a Fatah delegation to Iran to plan the details of the visit.
“Majdalani and the Iranian Foreign Minister, who met in Tehran on Sunday, agreed on the development of mutual relations,” Ma’an reports. “Likewise, the president’s messenger revealed that there will be significant developments in the bilateral relations in the near future, through the establishment of a high-level joint committee to discuss politics, trade, culture and students. The [Palestinian] Authority clarified to the Iranian leadership its position regarding a reconciliation with the Hamas movement through the establishment of a national unity government, and Majdalani added that ‘the Iranian effort to support our efforts to bring about the success of the internal reconciliation process with Hamas is important.’ Likewise, Majdalani discussed with the Iranian minister the results of the nuclear agreement with the US, especially in light of the fact that it will open the way for an international committee to clean the region of Israeli nuclear weapons since Israel no longer has the excuse that there is a nuclear Iran that threatens its existence.”