Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (Photo credit: PRESSTV).
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says, “the Islamic Republic will never retreat even one iota from its stance on supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance,” Iran’s Press TV reported.
Addressing a conference in Tehran on 7 March, Amir-Abdollahian said all Iranians will remain committed to the Palestinian issue until the establishment of a united government with Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestinians want the occupied West Bank as part of a future independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Press TV noted further that “Iran has been a strong supporter of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which has been at the forefront of carrying out military operations in the West Bank since the beginning of the year as Israeli army operations have escalated.”
Israel has long feared an alliance between the Palestinians and allied regional states. Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University explained during the Second Palestinian Intifada in 2001, “From an Israeli perspective, the most dangerous threats come from a potential coalition of Arab states and Iran, rather than from the Palestinians alone.”
Iran’s support for the Palestinian resistance has remained steady. When the Hamas political leadership, under the influence of Qatar, broke ties with Iran and the Syrian government during the US-led proxy war against Damascus in 2012, leaders from the group’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, reminded Hamas political bureau chief, Khaled Meshaal, that in fact, it was Iran’s “military support rather than Gulf financial support” that enabled Hamas to face a major Israeli assault on Gaza in November 2012.
Ezzat al-Rashq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, explained at the time that “Iran had been the main financial supporter for the Hamas government in Gaza. Without the Iranian money … Hamas would have never been able to pay its 45,000 government employees.”
Iran and Hamas later reconciled, and in September 2020, Al-Jazeera broadcast the program “What is Hidden is Greater,” which showed exclusive footage of members of the Qassam Brigades collecting Iranian Fajr missiles and Kornet anti-tank shells. Hamas military leaders said the movement received Iranian weapons by land and sea, bypassing military bases, aviation, and maritime patrols, and it revealed the manufacturing of new missiles constructed of Israeli missile remnants from the 2014 war on Gaza.
However, as Rami Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian military expert, explained to Al-Monitor, the cooperation of Arab states with Israel continues to weaken the Iranian-led axis of resistance that includes the Syrian government, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The PIJ, with backing from Iran and the Lions’ Den resistance group, has played a crucial role in the ongoing military resistance to the Israeli occupation that has erupted in the occupied West Bank over the past year. The Israeli army has carried out almost nightly raids against Palestinian targets during that time, in many cases to target members of a new Nablus-based resistance group, the Lion’s Den.