Yossi Mansharof
Yossi Mansharof
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Iran stokes flames of Palestinian terror

Tehran is rallying behind the violence and urging jihadi factions to launch more deadly attacks

The current escalation in Palestinian terror feeds into Iran’s wishful expectations that West Bank Palestinians will launch a new Intifada, joining hands against Israel with their brethren in Gaza. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has, of late, repeatedly declared his determination to arm West Bank Palestinians in order to render their struggle more effective. Iranian officials and media sources close to Khamenei even predict that armed struggle in the West Bank, including missile attacks, will pose an existential danger for Israel, since it lacks strategic depth and because population centers and sensitive facilities are concentrated in central Israel.

Preoccupied at the moment by the Iran nuclear deal, the Hajj stampede in Mecca and the Syria-ISIS-Yemen crises, the Iranian regime has not emphasized the recent Palestinian terror wave. Yet Tehran is discernibly satisfied with the events, and it has urged Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join the struggle by committing deadly attacks.

On the diplomatic front, Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham has condemned the “terror act by the Zionist regime against the helpless Palestinian nation, especially in the West Bank,” in reference to the killing of two young Palestinian rioters in clashes with IDF the previous day in the West Bank.

A review of Iranian media reveals that Tehran — especially Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) circles — is sending three key public messages to the Palestinian leadership and movements, mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad: Cancel the Oslo Accords, commit lethal attacks and operations, and stick with the Resistance as the only strategic path that will achieve your desired outcome.

Last week, Iranian media republished Khamenei’s speech from the “Support for the Palestinian Intifada” conference held in Tehran on June 24th 2006. In this speech, Khamenei utterly rejected any reconciliation with Israel, praised the Intifada and promised to compensate the Palestinians for the damages caused them by Oslo Accord. Khamenei said:

This Intifada is an uprising of people made desperate by appeasement ploys who have realized that victory will be achieved only by Intifada. The Palestinian people absorbed many casualties in the previous Intifada and gave many martyrs for the cause of the Islamic path and for the freedom of Islamic lands. But eventually the Oslo Talks stopped it.
What were the results of Oslo? Today, even Oslo planners and supporters no longer support it now that they realize that Israel only wants to get rid of its problems, in other words, the struggle against stones throwers and to reduce its vulnerability.

If Israel gave any minor thing to the Palestinian side and called it a concession, it was just in order to douse the flames of the Intifada. Soon after they solved their problem, they mistakenly assumed the Palestinian people can’t renew the Intifada and show Resistance, so they stopped even giving them minor concessions and only increased their demands. The reconciliation process and Oslo Accords showed the Palestinian people that they have no way other than Resistance…
The reconciliation process and Oslo sowed divisions among the Palestinians, but the sacred Intifada succeeded in returning national unity to the Palestinians. As you see, all sectors of the Palestinian people are taking part in this struggle. Even those who still believe in other ways have been forced to join this tremendous movement.

Publishing an illustration titled “The third Intifada is on its way” on October 6th, the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency added a quote from that same Khamenei speech:

From the Tasnim News Agency. Quote at bottom is from a speech by Ali Khamenei: “This Intifada is an uprising of people made desperate by appeasement ploys who have realized that victory will be achieved only by Intifada.”

Tehran’s call to the Palestinians to escalate terror was reiterated by Iranian publicist, Hassan Hanizadeh, who is close to IRGC circles. Speaking to the Iranian website Qodsna.com on October 6th, he implicitly urges the Palestinian organizations to launch deadly attacks:

Martyrdom operations will spread and as a result the Zionist regime is in a panic. Naturally, if Jihadi circles will get into action we will witness a decisive confrontation in Palestine. The increasing number of martyrdom operations is the result of the failure of the reconciliation talks…

On October 5th, Mosayeb Al-Naimi, editor of Iran’s Arabic-language daily al-Wifaq, reflected Tehran’s satisfaction with the wave of Palestinian terror.Al-Naimi praised the Palestinians and hoped that escalation in the Palestinians arena would overshadow the increasing Shiite-Sunni regional rift caused by the crises of ISIS, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Al-Naimi said:

The martyrdom operations of the Resistance show that the Zionists are the main regional enemy. Palestine’s situation is very important because of satanic deeds by the Zionists [i.e. ISIS crisis] which divert public opinion from the main topic of the Islamic world [i.e. from the Palestinian topic]. Zionists must understand that the Islamic world won’t ignore their crimes and the struggle will continue until Palestine is liberated, no matter how busy the Islamic world is with other issues. The Zionists will try to increase their pressures against the Palestinians but the latter won’t be calmed. Netanyahu’s situation will get even worse due to his failures and helplessness among Zionist public opinion. Satanic deeds won’t benefit them at all.

Recent activity by the Tehran-based Iranian NGO, The Association for Defending the Palestinian Nation, is also significant. The Association invited the public to participate in a three-day workshop held this past Thursday to commemorate the 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsha, who died when his family’s house was set on fire by alleged Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Duma.

qodsna-workshop poster
(From Qodsna.com, October 8, 2015)

The Association explained that it “seeks to reinforce Palestinian values and knowledge about Palestine and Zionism.” Its anti-Semitic nature and aspirations to annihilate Israel were reflected in the workshop topics: Palestinian history and the process of its occupation; The Palestine issue and us; Why we should support Palestine and the struggle against Israel; The Holocaust – myth or reality?; Christian Zionism; Acquaintance with the Zionist lobby; A review of the purposes behind Israel’s establishment.

The workshop invitation shows an Israeli tank accompanied by immigrant Jews, expelling the Palestinians and setting Palestine and Ali Dawabsha on fire and then casting them into the abyss.

In light of the public messages that Iran is sending to the Palestinians these days, one can only speculate what it tells them via clandestine channels.

About the Author
Yossi Mansharof is a researcher of Shiite communities, born and living in Israel. He is currently completing a PhD thesis in the Middle Eastern History department at the University of Haifa, and is a researcher at the Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies. He worked (2006-2015) at the Iranian desk of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).