During the recent round of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian terror organizations that control Gaza, we saw a failure of many Western commentators to connect the dots of these events to the larger geopolitical picture in the Middle East. It shouldn’t be hard to do. For decades, we’ve known that Iran supports Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad because they serve Iran’s larger goal of domination of the Middle East. By now it should be clear that in Iran’s deadly agenda, the Islamic Republic will do everything possible to use Palestinian proxy forces to destroy the hopes for peace and work toward the destruction of Israel.
The period between 1993 and 2008 is a case study of Iran’s agenda.
In 1993, Israel signed onto the Oslo Accords that created the Palestinian Authority. As a result, Israel withdrew from the major cities of the West Bank. It was a time of great euphoria, and the hopes for a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians were real.
In December 2000, Israel agreed to the Clinton Plan for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and a shared Jerusalem as capital of the two states. Unfortunately, this generous offer for peace through the two-state solution was rejected by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In 2008, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rejected another generous offer for peace through the two-state solution from then Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.
It was during this period of great hope that the government of Iran did everything possible to literally blow up the hopes for peace.
Between 1993 and 2008, no fewer than 168 Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up on Israeli buses, in restaurants and shopping malls. These suicide bombings, and other terror attacks, killed more than 1,000 Israeli civilians and wounded many thousands more.
Although Palestinian terror groups provided the hateful ideology and the suicide bombers, it was Iran that provided the financial means and technical support to commit mass murder and literally blow up the hopes for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The majority of suicide bombings of this period were carried out by two Palestinian terror organizations supported by Iran: Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. These are the same terror organizations that fired more than 4,000 rockets from Gaza at Israeli civilians during this recent round of fighting.
Iran’s support for Palestinian terrorism was detailed in the captivating book titled, The Bus on Jaffa Road by author Mike Kelly. The author tells the tragic story of two American victims of a suicide bombing on a bus in Jerusalem in 1996, and the efforts of their parents to hold the perpetrators accountable in US Federal Court.
In the book, we learn about the testimony of Middle East expert Dr. Patrick Clawson who told a US Federal Court that, by the 1990s, Iran was already providing Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad with $75 million per year in financial support in addition to training for Palestinian bomb makers.
Iran’s agenda for Palestine is not a secret.
Iranian leaders routinely call for the destruction of Israel. The website of the non-partisan advocacy group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), provides extensive details of these threats to genocide from Iranian leaders that are typically ignored by the international community.
In recent years, Iran’s Middle East strategy calls for supporting the “Axis of Resistance.” The goal of this “Axis” is to support proxy forces — like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah — in order to “export the Islamic Revolution” and to use these proxies for “resistance” to the very existence of Israel.
The phrase was first used by Ali Akbar Velyati, a senior advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In 2010, Velyati said, “The chain of resistance against Israel by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the new Iraqi government and Hamas passes through the Syrian highway…”
The implications for the human cost of this “Axis of Resistance” strategy are mind-boggling.
In an April 2018 article in The Atlantic, titled “Iran’s Real Enemy in Syria,” Karim Sadjapour, a leading expert on the Middle East, addressed the question of Iran’s motivations in Syria. He wrote: “Tehran’s steadfast support for Assad is not driven by the geopolitical or financial interests of the Iranian nation, nor the religious convictions of the Islamic Republic, but by a visceral and seemingly inextinguishable hatred for the State of Israel.”
In other words, the leaders of Iran helped to destroy Syria and aid and abet the murder of more than 500,000 civilians so that they could pursue the destruction of Israel. Given that reality, it is not hard to understand how Iran will also sacrifice Gaza to pursue the destruction of Israel.
Since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired more than 16,000 rockets at Israeli civilians including more than 4,000 rockets fired in this recent round of fighting.
The rocket fire from Gaza has been enabled by extensive support from Iran. In fact, Hamas leaders are very open about the support they receive from Iran.
In a virulent speech given by Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar in June 2019 about the long-range rockets of Hamas that can reach Tel Aviv he said this: “Let me reiterate. If not for Iran’s support for the resistance in Palestine we would have not obtained these capabilities… Iran has supported us with weapons, equipment and expertise”.
In addition to the inevitable destruction that Hamas and Islamic Jihad bring on themselves and Palestinian civilians in Gaza, they are also destroying the hopes for peace through the two-state solution. How likely is it that any Israeli would be willing to support withdrawal from more territory in the West Bank if they fear that it will become another Gaza?
Yet, that is exactly the end goal of Iran and its Palestinian terror proxies: to destroy the hopes for peace so that they can pursue the destruction of Israel.
Until commentators in the Western media begin to connect the dots and focus on the destructive role of Iran in the region, the international community will continue to fail to hold Iran accountable for its deadly agenda for Palestine. And the great tragedy is that peace between Israelis and Palestinians will continue to remain a distant dream.