Palestinans Look to Influential Iran for Support

With sanctions on Iran lifted, Palestinians expect Islamic Republic to use newfound power to exert pressure on Israel.

Dalit Halevi ,

Hamas rally in Gaza City
Hamas rally in Gaza City

Most Israelis are none too happy about the Iran nuclear deal, but Palestinians see it as a very positive development.

With the expectation that all sanctions will be lifted from Iran, and billions of dollars of its frozen assets around the world freed, the Palestinians are expecting Tehran to become a very influential regional player – and are hopeful they will use their new-found influence to force Israel into concessions.

The hope is not necessarily connected to an Iranian nuclear threat; under the agreement Tehran reached with Western powers, Iran is not supposed to have such weapons for at least a decade, although many experts believe that the deal will allow clandestine development of such weapons far faster.

However, with new regional influence, Iran will be in a position to economically squeeze Israel, Palestinian officials believe, by favoring or refusing to do business with companies or governments that do not, in Tehran's opinion, sufficiently support the Palestinian cause.

Speaking Thursday, Muchsan Sallah, who heads the Palestinian Al-Zaytouna polling firm, told Hamas official newspaper Palestine that there was “great hope” among Palestinians that Iran would support their “stubborn presence in Palestine” monetarily and politically.

According to Sallah, Iran's views on the Middle East conflict were exactly like those of Hamas, and the two would find much common ground on actions and points of view.

Israeli officials are concerned over the very same thing – that Iran will become a regional power and throw its weight around, and especially lend support to Shi'ite terror groups like Hezbollah, further endangering Israel and making the Middle East less stable.