Posted tagged ‘Iran and Palestinians’

Deadly False Narratives Drove the Temple Mount Crisis

August 2, 2017

Deadly False Narratives Drove the Temple Mount Crisis, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, August 2, 2017

Until the attack, Israel had been relying on intelligence alerts, rather than physical security measures, to defend the site. But the shootings led the Israel Police to ask the Israeli government to beef up security, and install metal detectors.

The government agreed, despite the misgivings of the Israeli defense establishment, which was concerned that the move would fuel the propaganda of fundamentalist forces, leading to unrest and instability.

Iran helped fuel the unrestIsrael Hayom reported, by sending protesters “tens of thousands of … prepackaged meals along with notes in each one citing a famous quote attributed to 1979 Iranian Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: ‘With the help of Allah, Palestine will be liberated! Jerusalem is ours.’ The note also depicted the Dome of the Rock and the Palestinian flag.”

Additionally, a senior Iranian official reportedly met with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad representatives in Iran, offering them assistance for Palestinians injured in clashes. The IRGC released a statement, condemning “the Zionist regime’s  aggressive and criminal actions against Al-Aqsa mosque.”

*****************************************

The crisis between Israel and the Palestinians that raged in recent weeks over the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa holy site in Jerusalem has died down, but the affair provides important clues about the rising ability of fundamentalist Islamists to seize control of the narrative.

Radical rhetoric espoused by those who sought to inflame religious conflict dominated the Temple Mount crisis.

“Israel wants more than ever before to implement its plan for complete control over al-Aksa Mosque,” Hamas politburo chief Ismael Haniyeh said, even after Israel moved to defuse the situation. Days earlier, Hamas had called for a “religious war” against Israel.

Islamists in Gaza, Jordan, east Jerusalem, and within the Israeli Arab community, had the upper hand in their ability to push their interpretation of events. They claim Israel wants to take over the holy site and destroy the mosque to make way for a third Temple. This baseless narrative sweeps away the terrorist attack that caused the crisis and presented three Palestinians killed in subsequent clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem as martyrs who died defending Islam.

Not to be outdone by their Islamist rivals, Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders peddled the same falsehoods. Religious Affairs Minister Sheikh Yusuf Idai’is told the official PA television channel that Israel “has plans to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the alleged Temple in its place.”

Those seeking religious strife were able to mobilize masses onto the streets, with the help of self-organizing demonstrators and rioters who were infected with the Islamist fervor, and spread it themselves on social media.

Together, these elements forced pragmatic Arab leaders – who do not subscribe to Islamist ideology – to adopt the Islamist narrative, and to deal with Israel as if it was guilty of the Islamic hard-liners’ fabricated accusations.

A recap: The crisis erupted when a terrorist jihadist cell, made up of three Arab-Israeli gunmen, used firearms smuggled into the Al-Aqsa Mosque – Islam’s third holiest site – to shoot dead two Israeli police officers. Security forces then returned fire, killing the gunmen.

Until the attack, Israel had been relying on intelligence alerts, rather than physical security measures, to defend the site. But the shootings led the Israel Police to ask the Israeli government to beef up security, and install metal detectors.

The government agreed, despite the misgivings of the Israeli defense establishment, which was concerned that the move would fuel the propaganda of fundamentalist forces, leading to unrest and instability.

The defense establishment’s concerns came true. Rioting erupted in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Mass demonstrations were held in Israel’s eastern neighbor, Jordan, and included members of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.

A Palestinian knife attacker, pledging to “die for Al-Aqsa” on his Facebook page, massacred three members of an Israeli family in their home in the West Bank.

All of these events were driven by incitement to religious violence. The unrest was sparked by the false accusation that Israel was seeking to change the status quo at Al-Aqsa, and that the site needed defending from Israelis schemes. It is a conspiracy theory that has been peddled by Palestinian hardliners for decades, dating back to the days of Hajj Amin Al Husseini in the 1920s and 30s.

Hamas in Gaza and Palestinian Islamic Jihad praised the Temple Mount shooters as “heroic,” and called for more attacks. They issued a rallying call to defend Al-Aqsa. A Salafist-jihadist group in Gaza fired two rockets at southern Israel.

Israel responded with tank fire at a Hamas military post.

Turkey, ruled by a pro-Hamas variant of the Muslim Brotherhood, exploited the tensions to urge all Muslims to “protect Jerusalem,” and called on Israel to end the crisis. Israel’s Foreign Ministry called it “absurd that the Turkish government, which occupies northern Cyprus, brutally represses the Kurdish minority and jails journalists, lectures Israel, the only true democracy in the region. The days of the Ottoman Empire have passed.”

Iran helped fuel the unrestIsrael Hayom reported, by sending protesters “tens of thousands of … prepackaged meals along with notes in each one citing a famous quote attributed to 1979 Iranian Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: ‘With the help of Allah, Palestine will be liberated! Jerusalem is ours.’ The note also depicted the Dome of the Rock and the Palestinian flag.”

Additionally, a senior Iranian official reportedly met with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad representatives in Iran, offering them assistance for Palestinians injured in clashes. The IRGC released a statement, condemning “the Zionist regime’s  aggressive and criminal actions against Al-Aqsa mosque.”

In Israel, Sheikh Raed Saleh, the former leader of the now banned Islamic Movement – a sister organization to Hamas – led a funeral procession for the three Arab Israeli terrorists. Thousands of mourners marched belligerently by the coffins of the terrorists, shouting, “By fire and with blood we will redeem you, Al-Aqsa,” and, “You are the martyrs of Al-Aqsa.”

Palestinian social media buzzed with calls to defend Al-Aqsa. The Islamist narrative had won the day.

Israel tried to challenge this mythology by directly addressing Palestinians. “So that the truth is clear, when did the Temple Mount incidents erupt?” IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai asked in Arabic on Al Jazeera. “A week ago. After a terror attack was committed by three Muslims, who entered the Temple Mount with weapons and opened fire. Israel does not want to change the status quo. This is a clear message to the world from the Muslim world.”

His message appeared to largely fall on deaf ears. With the fundamentalist rhetoric leading the way, even pragmatic Arab leaders, some of whom rely on cooperation with Israel for the very stability of their rule, felt the need to play according to the radical playbook, in order to avoid being tagged as Israel’s ‘abettors.’

The most obvious example was Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas. Without Israel’s steps to quell Hamas in the West Bank, Abbas’s Palestinian Authority would have faced multiple armed attempts by Islamists to depose him .

During the Temple Mount unrest, Abbas cut security coordination between his forces and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

“Jerusalem is ours. It is our capital and our sovereignty. As long as the situation in occupied Jerusalem does not return to what it was before July 14 [when Israel installed metal detectors], there will be no changes [in our position],” Abbas said, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translation.

Promoting the lie that the Al-Aqsa Mosque required protection from Israel, Abbas told east Jerusalem Palestinians, “What you did was defend your honor, your religion and your holy sites. It was the true answer to those who wish to harm our holy sites and the principles of our faith. We supported you in what you did and are [still] doing. We decided to suspend the security coordination; [that decision] still holds. We [decided to] defend the holy sites; that still holds as well.”

The Fatah movement, which runs the Palestinian Authority, added fuel to the fire. With the full knowledge that it was risking new clashes, Fatah’s Central Committee called for mass protests.

Egypt and Jordan, both of whom are busy combating Islamist threats at home, called on Israel to remove the metal detectors.

The situation in Jordan became even more complicated when an Israeli embassy guard was stabbed by a local youth. The guard opened fire to defend himself, killing the attacker and accidentally shooting dead a second Jordanian citizen who was nearby.

Jordan’s King Abdullah refused to allow the Israeli guard to leave Amman, reversing his decision only after Israel said it would remove the metal detectors.

King Abdullah, one of the Arab worlds’ most moderate leaders, whose Kingdom shares many common interests with Israel, still felt the need to issue a statement vowing to prevent the “Judaization” of holy sites in Jerusalem.

Jordan controls the Jerusalem Islamic trust in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, called the Waqf. Behind the scenes, Jordan helped end the Temple Mount crisis, which threatened to destabilize it.

The Waqf told Islamic worshipers that they could re-enter the Temple Mount after Israel had removed the metal detectors.

Even after the crisis reached a resolution, the Palestinian Authority remained highly wary of being labeled as a collaborator with Israel.

An aide to Abbas said security coordination with Israel would only be resumed “gradually,” to avoid giving the impression that the Palestinian Authority is too enthusiastic about working with the Israeli military in the West Bank.

The crisis provides a clear indication of the influence that Islamist propaganda has on the area. Even Arab leaders who are directly threatened by radical forces feel they must march according to their drumbeat, or risk their very legitimacy.

Israel’s decision to dismantle the metal detectors was designed to prevent the Islamist pyromaniacs from using the Al-Aqsa crisis to set the region on fire.

The fact that the Islamists came so close to succeeding, however, is the latest indication of who is in charge of the popular narrative in the region.

Qassem Soleimani boasts of Tehran’s expanded footprint throughout Middle East

July 7, 2017

Qassem Soleimani boasts of Tehran’s expanded footprint throughout Middle East, Long War Journal , July 6, 2017

Qassem Soleimani

“The Islamic Republic has been the victor of all events that have happened in the region,” Soleimani claimed.

On domestic politics, Soleimani had strong words for critics of the IRGC, indirectly criticizing President Hassan Rouhani. “In the Islamic Republic, we’re all responsible towards martyrs, society, religion and our country. The biggest betrayal is to cast doubt toward the foundations of this system.” He continued, saying “none today must weaken the corps.” This is likely a reference to Rouhani’s recent criticism of the IRGC during and since the presidential campaign. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: The Revolutionary Guard’s long shadow over Iran’s presidential election.]

**********************************

On July 3, Major General Qassem Soleimani, the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Qods Force, spoke at an Iran-Iraq war veterans gathering in his home province of Kerman.

Soleimani praised the Islamic Republic’s decades-long effort to take the mantle of the Palestinian cause and boasted that Tehran’s influence in the Middle East has expanded as a result of the Syrian war. He excoriated Saudi Arabia, as well as domestic Iranian critics of the Guard Corps. And the general also lamented the drop in religious observance in Iran.

Soleimani hailed the importance of Qods Day, established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to call for Israel’s destruction and express support for Palestinians. Tehran-sponsored Qods Day celebrations were held in several countries last month. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: Qods Day commemorations highlight Tehran’s global reach.]

“One of the important and valuable innovations of Imam Khomeini was making central the system’s policies on the Palestinian issues, and the Imam (may the almighty God be pleased with him) hoisted the flag of mahdavi in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Soleimani said. Mahdism is belief in the Mahdi, or the 12th Shiite Imam, who would rise before judgement day.

Soleimani then chastised “some Arab countries” who are “surrounding” the “oppressed” Palestinians. Tehran has accused Arab states of “selling out” the Palestinian cause, because these same Arab nations have expanded ties with Israel over shared concerns about Iranian power.

“The Islamic Republic’s global defense of the oppressed peoples of Iraq and Syria” has increased Iran’s global popularity, Soleimani claimed. Other evidence suggests the opposite has happened: over the past decade, Tehran’s regional policies have led to sharp drops in Iran’s favorability rating in the Middle East and around the globe.

“The target of the takfiri terrorists was to bring the Islamic Republic to the ground with these conspiracies and to make it kneel in front of this religious sedition,” Soleimani claimed. He elaborated: “Those who were behind this sedition and fanned it also had this imagination. This is while the greatness and strength of the Islamic Republic of Iran after the emergence of DAESH [the Islamic State] and toward the end of DAESH increased tens of times.”

Like other senior Iranian officials, Soleimani has claimed that the Islamic State was a conspiracy weaved by Tehran’s enemies to target the Islamic Republic. Although Iranian-backed forces and the Islamic State fight one anther in Iraq and Syria, Tehran has used the Sunni jihadist group’s rise to justify its involvement abroad and its own jihad to defend Shiite shrines from virulently anti-Shiite extremists.

Soleimani boasted about the Syrian regime’s rising fortunes, though he failed to mention that Russia’s military intervention was essential in turning the tide of war. “One day, Syria faced many problems, and today the Syrian government becomes stronger every day,” he stated. The “global belief today is that the Syrian system is undefeatable.”

Soleimani spoke about the expansion of Tehran’s operations in Syria during the war. “Several years ago in Syria, we didn’t have relations with individuals and movements more than the numbers of fingers, while we have relations with hundreds of thousands today,” he boasted. “While some countries that argued with us, ‘don’t defend Syria’s government,’ [they] are standing next to the Islamic Republic today and have changed their policies.”

The Qods Force chief lauded the rise of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a conglomeration of Iraqi militias dominated by IRGC-backed factions. He omitted the fact that US air support has been crucial in the anti-Islamic State campaign.

“The Iraqi army is moving as a national, powerful Islamic army. This is due to popular forces. Something similar happened in our country,” he said, referring to the formation of the IRGC and the Basij paramilitary. Tehran aspires to consolidate its gains in Iraq through the vehicle of the PMF. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: Qods Force commander to advance Tehran’s influence as ambassador to Iraq.]

The Iranian general mocked Saudi Arabia: “If there’s a lot of oil in a country…but mad logic rules, terrible events happen, and mad things like war with Yemen happen and these ignorant individuals are incapable of extinguishing this fire.” As the civil war in Yemen enters its third year, Soleimani has overseen increasing Iranian support for Houthi fighters and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Houthi-Saleh alliance seeks to stymie the Saudi and UAE-led coalition.

“The Islamic Republic has been the victor of all events that have happened in the region,” Soleimani claimed.

He also praised the IRGC’s missile strikes on Islamic State positions in Syria last month, saying “this had several good benefits, one that it showed the Islamic Republic has the will to act, and the principle of will was more important than the result.” Israeli sources say Iran’s missile strikes were largely unsuccessful, with only one projectile striking their targets. Soleimani’s statement could be read as an admission that not all the missiles struck their targets. Regardless, he emphasized that the missile strikes highlighted the training of experts in building “precise” missiles.

“I have witnessed many scenes of missile raining down including American missiles,” he explained. He cited a Quranic verse in his praise, arguing “this movement of the corps was truly, ‘It was not you who threw when you threw; God is the One who threw.’”

On domestic politics, Soleimani had strong words for critics of the IRGC, indirectly criticizing President Hassan Rouhani. “In the Islamic Republic, we’re all responsible towards martyrs, society, religion and our country. The biggest betrayal is to cast doubt toward the foundations of this system.” He continued, saying “none today must weaken the corps.” This is likely a reference to Rouhani’s recent criticism of the IRGC during and since the presidential campaign. [See FDD’s Long War Journalreport: The Revolutionary Guard’s long shadow over Iran’s presidential election.]

“Do not compare the corps with me…target me, not the corps,” he said. “Without the corps, there wouldn’t be a country.”

Soleimani acknowledged the drop in religious observation in Iran, though he sought to deflect blame from the regime’s practice of shoving its version of religiosity down people’s throats. “We must not make people pessimistic toward religion and make society fear the devout, because turning people away from religion leads to higher divorce rate, and social corruption grows with reduction in values,” he said.

“How is it that some seek to make society afraid of the religiously devout? This is a wrong strategy and policy.”

A Revolutionary Guard commander once admitted that only five percent of Iran’s mosques are operational during the year.

Amir Toumaj is a Research Analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Top Iranian Official Threatens Saudi Arabia Over Alleged Ties With Israel

June 20, 2017

Top Iranian Official Threatens Saudi Arabia Over Alleged Ties With Israel, AlgemeinerBen Cohen, June 20, 2017

(Please see also, IRGC Commanders: Our Main Aim Is Global Islamic Rule. — DM)

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. Photo: IRNA.

The speaker of the Iranian Parliament assailed Saudi Arabia on Tuesday over its alleged ties with Israel in a speech in Tehran to a group of ambassadors from Muslim nations.

“The dependence of some Muslim countries on Israel is catastrophic and a stain of shame, while the Muslim Ummah (global community) should be sensitive to the fate of Palestine,” Ali Larijani said, in remarks reported by the Iranian regime’s English-language mouthpiece, PressTV.

Larijani named Saudi Arabia specifically, asserting, “Eventually, all Saudi moves are in favor of Israel.”

Without producing evidence, Larijani claimed Iran had obtained documents showing that the Saudis provided Israel with intelligence during the 2006 war between the IDF and the Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy.

“We have tried hard to make the Saudis understand that their measures are to the detriment of the Muslim Ummah, but they only make harsher remarks every day,” Larijani said. He warned Muslim states “not to be trapped in a bigger plot.”

Larijani has held several high offices in the Tehran regime, including serving as chief negotiator with the international community over Iran’s nuclear program, and as secretary of Iran’s National Security Council. A hardline Islamist, Larijani shocked an audience of world leaders and diplomats at the Munich Security Conference in 2009 when he endorsed Holocaust denial, praising the Iranian regime for having “different perspectives” on the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

Larijani’s attack on Saudi Arabia comes at a time of growing rumor and speculation about Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning economic and security ties with Israel. Israeli officials have tended to play down such reports, among them a recent claim by the London Sunday Times that Jerusalem was preparing to announce commercial relations with Riyadh.

Larijani’s accusation that Saudi Arabia has betrayed Islam matches rhetoric from other regime officials promoting Iran as the leader of the Islamic world. In several speeches this year, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Ali Jafari — the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — has emphasized Iran’s place at the head of “the Islamic Revolution.”

“The Islamic Revolution is now in its third stage — that is, [the stage] of assembling the Islamic government, and with God’s help it will pass this stage successfully despite the ups and downs that constantly occur,” Ja’fari declared in a March 15 speech.

In another speech on April 30, the IRGC commander asserted, “In order to build the Islamic regime, there is no other path but to advance the Islamic Revolution. As the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic) said: ‘If this Islamic regime is defeated, Islam is defeated.’”

PLO Ambassador To Iran: We Will Liberate Palestine ‘From The River To The Sea’ – With Everything From Stabbing And Vehicular Attacks To Launching Rockets

March 2, 2017

PLO Ambassador To Iran: We Will Liberate Palestine ‘From The River To The Sea’ – With Everything From Stabbing And Vehicular Attacks To Launching Rockets, MEMRI, March 2, 2017

“Providing a political analysis of what is happening with the Palestinian cause today, Al-Zawawi said: ‘We are not facing an ordinary enemy, or a small-scale plan. Rather, we are fighting the most dangerous international plan, especially after the U.S. adopted the [idea the Palestinians must recognize Israel as] a Jewish state. The U.S. transitioned from one phase to the next, fully aware of what its next step will be, and we were deceived.’ He added: ‘The ethnic and sectarian conflicts taking place today – their purpose is to take over and dismantle the region’s resources and spark wars among the Arabs in order to distance them from Palestine – [all this] promotes the establishment of Greater Israel.’

******************************

A March 1, 2017 article in the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar about PLO Ambassador to Iran Salah Al-Zawawi included excerpts of an interview with him focusing on the PLO-Iran relationship. Al-Zawawi also stressed in the interview that armed struggle using all means was a legitimate path to liberating Palestine “from the river to the sea.”

It should be noted that on February 19, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that “the ambassador of the state of Palestine in Iran, Salah Al-Zawawi” would be part of the Palestinian delegation to the Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada, held in Tehran on February 21,[1] and that the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website also lists him as Palestine’s ambassador to Iran.[2]

Following are excerpts from the article, including statements by Al-Zawawi:

alzawawiSalah Al-Zawawi at the the Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada (image: Tasnim, Iran, February 21, 2017)

“In February 1981, the late [Palestinian Authority (PA)] president Yasser Arafat appointed Salah Al-Zawawi as PLO envoy to Tehran, after the late Hani Al-Hassan retired and left for Beirut. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords between the PLO and the Zionist enemy, Iran refused to recognize the PA that was born of this agreement, and also rejected the replacement of Al-Zawawi and the appointment of a new ambassador. Thus, Al-Zawawi remained in office, and has spent the past 32 years of his life in Tehran.

“Al-Zawawi reminisced about the opening of the [PLO] embassy [in Tehran], which was attended by Abu ‘Ammar [Arafat], [then-PLO ambassador to Tehran] Hani Al-Hassan, Ahmad Khomeini [son of the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini], and former Iranian foreign minister Ebrahim Yazdi. During it, [he said], the Palestinian flag was raised over the former Israeli Embassy building. He expressed his pride in the fact that Arafat was the first official to visit Tehran, and added: ‘After the victory of the Imam Khomeini’s revolution, Arafat said: “Starting today, my front stretches from Tyre to Khorasan…” [Al-Zawawi added:] ‘Palestine-Iran relations run deeper than any political differences the two sides face, and even after the PLO’s recognition of Israel, ties between the two revolutions remain…’

“Underlining the [PLO-Iran] relations that have existed since time immemorial, Al-Zawawi said: ‘Our relationship with the Imam Khomeini began back when he was still in exile. The Imam’s revolution [i.e. Iran’s Islamic Revolution] was based on two main foundations: Islam, and Palestine [including Jerusalem, which is], the first direction of prayer [for Muslims, and the location of] the third-most important mosque [Al-Aqsa]. Once the Imam Khomeini’s revolution had triumphed, he said: Today Iran, and tomorrow Palestine, and added: Without restoring Palestine, Iran’s independence will remain lacking as well.’ Al-Zawawi added: ‘The Imam [Khomeini] adopted our [Palestinian] revolution when he was in the [Iraqi] city of Al-Najaf, which is holy [to Shi’ites], and it was then also that he issued his historic fatwa regarding the transfer of zakat [alms] and one-fifth [of a person’s income] to the Palestinian fighters who risk their lives.’

“Al-Zawawi speaks lovingly of Khomeini, saying: ‘The Imam would see in his mind’s eye the future of Palestine, and he declared the last Friday of Ramadan to be International Qods [Jerusalem] Day, [because] he could see what [ordinary] people do not see.’ [Al-Zawawi continues:]I look at the dark days we live in now: the Zionist enemy is attempting to swallow up the West Bank, annex Jerusalem, and see it as the capital of the Zionist entity. This is in addition to [the Zionists] stepping up settlement construction and allowing [themselves] to harm Al-Aqsa mosque.’

“The Palestinian ambassador likes repeating the history of [Palestinian-Iranian] ties even prior to the victory of the Islamic Revolution [in Iran]. He stresses that most Iranian commanders were trained at Fatah camps in Lebanon, that some of them died as martyrs fighting alongside Palestinian fighters and are still on the list of Palestinian martyr families, and that [Fatah] continues to pay allowances to their families in Iran.

“[Al-Zawawi continues:] ‘The Iranian ideological compass is linked to Palestine, so that wherever you go in Iran, you will find a street or monument named for Palestine. In the holiest site for [Shi’ite] Islam, that is, the seat of the [Eighth Shi’ite] Imam Ali Al-Ridha in Mashhad, there is a large courtyard, the Al-Quds Courtyard, that features a model of the Dome of the Rock, and after every prayer the Iranians chant anti-U.S. and anti-Israel slogans…’

“The Palestinian ambassador was careful to mention anything [that the Palestinians have] in common with Iran, saying: ‘We are facing a U.S.-run Western plan, which will not end except through combat and jihad, carried out by all means. The regime here was established on the basis of Islam and the Shi’ite sect, and we as a movement connect to it in the martyrdom aspects of Karbala and Hussein. The Imam Hussein’s rebellion is a fundamental matter in the Shi’ite conscience, and the principle of the victory of the bloody sword underlines that the few can also triumph [over the many], and that those with few weapons can defeat those with an abundance of them…’

“[Al-Zawawi], one of the most veteran Palestinian diplomats, does not deny [that there are Palestinian] disagreements with Iran, but [explains that] ‘every side has to understand the other side’s tendencies, and we must fight to liberate Palestine. For our people in the 1948 territories [meaning Israeli Arabs], a different kind of fighting is needed than the kind needed for the people of the West Bank, and the West Bank requires a different kind of fighting than Gaza. [Additionally,] there is the diplomatic struggle.’ He added: ‘Certainly, everyone should fight in their own way, from carrying out stabbing and vehicular attacks to launching rockets. That is how we will liberate Palestine from the river to the sea… Some [types of?] jihad aredictated by geography, and everyone should contribute from where they are, using the means at their disposal and in accordance with their various situations. All means of combat are legitimate in order to realize Allah’s promise for liberation: From [the traditional dance] Dabke to armed struggle.’

“Providing a political analysis of what is happening with the Palestinian cause today, Al-Zawawi said: ‘We are not facing an ordinary enemy, or a small-scale plan. Rather, we are fighting the most dangerous international plan, especially after the U.S. adopted the [idea the Palestinians must recognize Israel as] a Jewish state. The U.S. transitioned from one phase to the next, fully aware of what its next step will be, and we were deceived.’ He added: ‘The ethnic and sectarian conflicts taking place today – their purpose is to take over and dismantle the region’s resources and spark wars among the Arabs in order to distance them from Palestine – [all this] promotes the establishment of Greater Israel.’

“The Palestinian ambassador no longer believes in the Oslo Accords. Moreover, he says: ‘When the PLO signed the agreement, a Palestinian state was supposed to be established in the West Bank and Gaza in 1999, but it did not happen.’ Eighteen years have passed since then, and therefore Al-Zawawi determines that Israel and the U.S. will not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state. He said decisively: ‘Oslo is bankrupt. U.S. President Donald Trump is the Zionist face of this enterprise. Additionally, the futility of dialogue with the enemy is now becoming clear.’

“For the Palestinian ambassador, the internal [i.e. intra-Palestinian] division adds fuel to the fire: ‘Can you believe how divided we are and how we are unable to unite[?] I do not accept any excuses whatsoever [for this] from the factions.’ He added: ‘At this time, we have no choice but to unite because the enemy is taking advantage of our division to Judaize Palestine, which is slipping away before our very eyes.’

“As for the Sixth Conference to Support the Palestinian Intifada, he believes that it expresses Iran’s commitment to the Palestinians: ‘The belief of fellowship [between us and the Iranians] is known to all. [The Iranians] are the bearers of the black standard, who leave Khorasan for Jerusalem.’ He added: ‘If we see the conference as a political and media phenomenon, then it has achieved what it was expected to achieve under these harsh conditions, when everyone seeks to eliminate the Palestinian cause. The conference gave us a chance for dialogue amongst ourselves. Furthermore, it was attended by heads of parliament from Arab countries and around the world, who discussed the next phase of the Palestinian struggle.'”[3]

___________________________

[1] Wafa.ps, February 19, 2017.

[2] Mofa.gov.ps.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), March 1, 2017.

Iran’s Leader Urges Palestinians to Launch Violent Uprising

February 21, 2017

Iran’s Leader Urges Palestinians to Launch Violent Uprising, Investigative Project on Terrorism, February 21, 2017

Iran Steps Up Threats to Israel, U.S.

January 11, 2017

Iran Steps Up Threats to Israel, U.S., Gatestone InstituteMajid Rafizadeh, January 11, 2017

(This can’t be accurate. Obama has told us that Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance. Isn’t it odd that he has not told us that the Islamic Republic has “nothing to do with Islam?” — DM)

“En Sha’a Allah [God willing], there will be no such thing as a Zionist regime in 25 years. Until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists.” — Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, September, 2015.

“If the Supreme Leader’s orders [are] to be executed, with the abilities and the equipment at our disposal, we will raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes.” — Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite unit, the Quds Force.

Iran is also attempting to intimidate Donald Trump from taking a tough stance against Iran. Trump ought to be wary of falling into Iran’s tactical game of fear-mongering. For Iran, US concessions and silence in the face of Iran’s threats mean weakness and fear. On the other hand, when Iran sees that the US is taking a robust stance and that the military option is always on the table, Tehran retreats.

As long as Iran’s Supreme Leader is alive and as long as the ruling clerics preserve the political establishment, Iran will maintain the core pillars of its foreign policies and revolutionary principles: these are anchored in anti-Israeli, anti-American and anti-Semitic politics. Iranian politicians across the political spectrum totally agree on these fundamentals.

Iran’s threats against Israel and the US are becoming bolder and louder. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is now repeatedly threatening Israel’s annihilation relatively soon.

According to Iran’s Press TV, Khamenei recently stated:

“The Zionist regime — as we have already said — will cease to exist in the next 25 years if there is a collective and united struggle by the Palestinians and the Muslims against the Zionists.”

In addition, Iranian officials are warning President-elect Donald Trump that if he makes any wrong move, it would lead to a World War, wiping Israel from the face of earth and destroying the smaller Gulf states.

Iranian leaders are adopting their classic tactics and strategy of threatening in advance — and frequently — probably to obtain concessions, push the next US administration to pursue policies of appeasement, and, more importantly, to drive the US to abandon Israel.

In addition, through anti-Israeli and incendiary statements, Khamenei and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are inciting Palestinians and the Muslim world to use violence against the Israeli nation. As a result, Khamenei heightens even further his anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiments. Many who follow his beliefs consider it their Islamic duty to fulfill his policies, religious doctrines and prophesies.

Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Revolutionary Guards’ elite unit, the Quds Force, previously said that Iran is ready to follow Khamenei’s orders once the leader gives the green light. According to the semi-official Fars News Agency, Karimpour said, “If the Supreme Leader’s orders [are] to be executed, with the abilities and the equipment at our disposal, we will raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes.”

In order to project himself as the leader of the Muslim world (both Shia and Sunni) and to mobilize opposition to Israel and the US, Khamenei reaffirmed the Islamic Republic’s support for groups that stand against Israel and America:

“Despite being engaged in certain regional issues, the Islamic Republic has always announced explicitly that Palestine is the number one issue in the Muslim world and has fulfilled its obligations in this regard.”

Iran’s leader then went on to lash out at the United States as “the most arrogant [power] and the Great Satan.”

Khamenei is correct that his generals and he have previously threatened Israel’s destruction.

In July 2016, the deputy commander of the (IRGC) warned that Iran possesses tens of thousands of missiles outside Iran to hit Israel. According to Iran’s state-owned news agency Tasnim, General Hossein Salami pointed out:

“Hezbollah has 100,000 missiles ready to hit Israel to liberate the occupied Palestinian territories if the Zionist regime repeats its past mistakes… today, the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are (present) more than ever.”

In addition, Khamenei has already published a 9-point plan on how to destroy Israel. In September 2015, he called on violence and jihad against Israel, until it is completely destroyed:

“En Sha’a Allah [God willing], there will be no such thing as a Zionist regime in 25 years. Until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists.”

Beside exploiting people’s grievances and inciting violence against Israel, Khamenei primarily relies on Hezbollah, Hamas and the IRGC to pursue his anti-Israel agenda.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, previously disclosed that Iran is lifeline of Hezbollah. In a speech broadcast by the Shiite party’s Al-Manar TV station, he said:

“We do not have any business projects or investments via banks… We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran. We have no money in Lebanese banks, neither in the past nor now. We do not transfer our money through the Lebanese banking system…. We totally reject this [U.S.] law until the Day of Judgment. … Even if the law is applied, we as a party and an organizational and jihadi movement, will not be hurt or affected”.

Nasrallah also insisted that, “as long as Iran has money, we have money… Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it.”

Notably, there are no differences across Iran’s political spectrum when it comes to opposing and threatening Israel. Moderates, reformist, principalists [in Farsi, Osolgarayan: ultra revolutionary and conservatives] and hardliners all pursue the core anti-Israel pillar of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy.

The so-called moderate Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said previously:

“The Zionist regime (Israel) is a regional base for America and the global arrogance … Disunity and discord among Muslim and terrorist groups in the region … have diverted us from the important issue of Palestine… We stand with the dispossessed Palestinian nation.”

Iranian leaders believe that arming groups and people who oppose Israel is critical. Khamenei tweeted that “I announced and it will absolutely happen that, just like #Gaza, the #WestBank must also be armed…”

Iran is also attempting to intimidate Trump from taking a tough stance against Iran. Trump ought to be wary of falling into Iran’s tactical game of fear-mongering. For Iran, US concessions and silence in the face of Iran’s threats mean weakness and fear. The fact is that whenever the US surrenders to Iran’s threats, Iranian leaders become louder and bolder in their threats. On the other hand, when Iran sees that the US is taking a robust stance and that military option is always on the table, Tehran retreats.

2204

Finally, at least as long as Iran’s Supreme Leader is alive, and as long as the ruling clerics preserve the political establishment, the Islamic Republic of Iran will maintain the core pillars of its foreign policies and revolutionary principles: these are anchored in anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-Semitic politics. Iranian politicians across the political spectrum totally agree on these fundamentals.

Iranian TV Report on International Holocaust Cartoon Contest Held in Tehran

May 17, 2016

Iranian TV Report on International Holocaust Cartoon Contest Held in Tehran, MEMRI TV via YouTube, May 17, 2016

 

The blurb beneath the video states,

On May 15, Al-Alam TV broadcast a report on the opening of the third International Holocaust Cartoon Contest in Tehran. The exhibition features caricatures of Israeli PM Netanyahu, comparing him to Hitler and to ISIS terrorists. The organizer, Shojai Tabtabai, said that the exhibition was “a response to the publication of cartoons by the French Charlie Hebdo magazine, which affronted the Prophet Muhammad, as well as an expression of [our opposition] to the massacres perpetrated against the Palestinian people.”