Analysis: How Iran is working to destroy Israel from within

Iran is preparing the ground for a major conflict between Israel and the so-called ‘Islamic Resistance"- terror groups and Shiite militias.

Tags: Hevron Iran
Yochanan Visser ,

Iran Israel confrontation
Iran Israel confrontation

Yochanan Visser is an independent journalist/analyst who worked for many years as Middle East correspondent for Western in Arizona and was a frequent publicist for the main Dutch paper De Volkskrant. He authored a book in the Dutch language about the cognitive war against Israel and now lives in Gush Etzion. He writes a twice weekly analysis of current issues for Arutz Sheva.

With all eyes on the Iranian encroachment on Israel’s border with Syria, certain recent developments reveal the Islamic Republic is also trying to destroy Israel from within.

First, there is the renewed rocket fire on the south of Israel which is, in fact, an Iranian attempt to trigger a new war between Hamas and the Jewish state.

As Arutz 7 reported at the end of December 2017, Qassem Soleimani the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), recently contacted Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar with an offer to “provide the Palestinian people with all the means at the IRGC's disposal in the struggle for Jerusalem.”

The Quds Force of the IRGC is the division which operates outside of Iran and Soleimani has virtually overseen every major battle in Syria and Iraq in the past few years despite a travel ban imposed on him by the UN Security Council.

On Wednesday, Israel announced via unofficial channels that Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian terror organization backed and funded by Iran, was behind the renewed rocket fire from Gaza.

The announcement came after three mortar shells were fired from Gaza which, happily, landed in open fields.

Last Saturday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told TV Channel 2 in Israel that Iran was behind the flare-up in rocket and mortar fire emanating from Gaza.

On Friday last week, after a new rocket barrage from Gaza, the IDF Spokesmen Office issued a statement which said that the fire “proved once again that Iran, through rogue and extremist terrorist organizations, is acting to bring about a deterioration in the regional situation.”

The statement furthermore said that Iran “is playing with the lives of the Gazan residents that could lead the strip to an escalation after years of quiet on the security front.”

IDF Chief of Staff Gaby Eisenkot recently revealed Iran has increased its financial support to Hamas and Islamic Jihad to $100 million annually – up from $ 70 million - in order to get more influence on the war effort at Israel’s southern front.

According to a report by Media Line which cited Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser (ret.), former director general of the Israeli Ministry of International Affairs and Strategy, Iran’s growing influence over Gaza is a matter of “convergence of interests.”

Kuperwasser says that Hamas is in a very weak position as the unity agreement with the Palestinian Authority failed to materialize and the already dire situation in Gaza is now rapidly deteriorating.

“The Iranians want to increase the strength of the ‘resistance’ axis that opposes Israel and promotes radical Islamic ideology and Hamas can be a useful ally in this cause,” according to one of PM Netanyahu’s former advisers on security affairs.

Other Israeli security experts such as Brig. Gen. (res.) Eli Ben Meir, who was the head of the IDF’s intelligence branch, think the escalation in the south of Israel is connected to the northern front where the Iranian axis is now approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

“There is a potential for escalation in Syria,” according to Ben Meir who pointed out that enforcing Israel’s red lines in Syria – Jerusalem wants an Iranian axis free security zone on the other side of the Syria border- will be met with a massive response from Gaza.

“Tehran will fan the flames until ultimately there is a confrontation,” Ben Meir thinks and he bases his assessment on the previous international response to the wars between Hamas and Israel.

A war between Israel and Hamas would drive a wedge between the Jewish State and its new Arab allies in the conflict with Iran and would weaken Israel’s position internationally, according to this line of thinking.

Iran is without any doubt preparing the ground for a major conflict between Israel and the so-called ‘Islamic Resistance’, which now consists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terror groups on one hand and the Shiite militias in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria on the other hand.

At the same time, Iran is trying to get a foothold in Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of Israel and home to the Palestinian Authority which controls almost all Palestinian Arab population centers.

On Wednesday, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) revealed it had uncovered “an infrastructure in Judea and Samaria that was run by Iranian intelligence and which was recruited and financed by an Iranian intelligence operative living in South Africa.”

The “infrastructure” was set up by Mahmoud Makharmeh, 29, “a computer engineering student who resides in Hebron,” according to ISA.

Makharmeh was recruited by Bakhar Makharmeh, a relative who lives in South Africa and who works for Iranian intelligence.

Iran is using South Africa, a pro-Palestinian country, as a center for “locating, recruiting and operating agents against Israel in Judea and Samaria,” ISA revealed.

Bakhar was working to recruit more Palestinian Arabs in order to carry out espionage on the IDF and terrorist acts against Israeli Jews on behalf of Iran.

After meeting with Iranian intelligence operatives several times Mahmoud Makharmeh was charged with a range of missions which were meant to undermine Israel from within while the ‘Islamic Resistance’ would prepare for a massive attack on Israel which will be launched at the Jewish state from multiple fronts.

In other words, from Lebanon where Hezbollah has been preparing for the next war with Israel for the past 11 years, from Syria where Iran has built a Shiite proxy force of 125.000 fighters which is now trying to get a foothold on the Syrian Golan Heights, and from Gaza where Islamic Jihad and Hamas are working in tandem to prepare for a new war against Israel.

ISA revealed that Mahmoud Makharmeh was supposed to recruit Palestinian Arabs who would restart the suicide bombing campaign against Israeli targets and who would carry out shooting attacks.

He furthermore was charged with setting up an Iranian intelligence center in Hebron which would also offer a training course in manufacturing explosive devices and other weaponry.

The now arrested Iranian agent was also looking for an Israeli Arab who would be charged with intelligence gathering missions in Israel and had already recruited two Hevron residents who formed a terrorist cell with Mahmoud Makharmeh.

He was also supposed to recruit Israelis – such as journalists- who had access to sensitive sites inside Israel and received a sum of $8000 for his efforts to enlist Arabs for Iran’s offensive from within Israel.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu reacted to the ISA announcement by warning that Iran is now using all sorts of covert operations to bring about the stated goal of annihilation of the Jewish state.

“I would like to bring it to your attention that Iran is using terrorism against the State of Israel not only with the assistance of terrorist movements such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad but is also attempting to organize terrorist actions inside the State of Israel and against the citizens of Israel, " Netanyahu said in a statement released on Wednesday.

A few hours later ISA released a new statement which announced the arrest of a 17-member strong Hamas cell that received its orders from Gaza and which was in advanced stages of planning to carry out shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria.

It was new evidence Hamas is exploiting the weak position of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and - with Iranian help - is trying to take over the PA, something that was predicted by Shin Beth chief Nadav Argaman at the end of December 2017.