ANALYSIS
Iran and the Fourth Gaza War

Iran played a crucial role in instigating the war and the preparations for it by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Yochanan Visser ,

Drone (illustration)
Drone (illustration)
iStock
Much has been written about the Fourth Gaza War, as I call it, but less about the Iranian role in it.

In fact, Iran played a crucial role in instigating the war and the preparations for it by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei incited the Arab masses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria in the weeks leading up to the war, calling upon Palestinian Arabs to “defend” the al-Aqsa mosque and denouncing Israel as a “terrorist base”.

Iran upped its funding of Hamas during the war and is now paying $30 million per month to Hamas alone. Aside from the money, Iran is giving other forms of aid to Hamas as we will see below.

PIJ receives even more and not only in terms of money. The Iranian proxy receives weapons, training, money, and even food from the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said PIJ leader Ramez al-Halabi, one of the leaders of PIJ during an interview with al-Ahd TV in Iraq.

PIJ leader Ziad al-Nakhala was similarly blunt when he told the Lebanese al-Mayadeen TV Channel the following: “all the conventional weapons reached Gaza via (assassinated Quds Force commander) al-Hajj Qassem Soleimani. Hezbollah, Syria, and the entire resistance axis played a part in transporting them.”

Iran tried to become directly involved in the latest war with the Palestinian Arab terror groups by again sending a drone full of explosives from Syria across the Jordanian border with Israel last week.

Just as some years ago, when Iran for the first time sent a drone into Israeli airspace, the latest UAV was downed by the Israeli army in the vicinity of the Israeli town of Beit Shean.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that the downed drone was Iranian during his meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas last week.

Iran was more than instrumental when it comes to the build-up of the rocket and missile arsenals of Hamas and PIJ. It is true that today the Gazan terrorist organizations are able to build their own projectiles. Even the Ayyash, Hamas’ medium-range missile with a range of 250 kilometers was built in Gaza, but Iranian assistance was crucial in this process.

Hamas’ representative in Iran, Khaled Qaddoumi, told Al-Monitor that “The Islamic Republic of Iran has helped a lot in transferring knowledge and expertise on one side, and transporting rockets on the other.”

He added that Iran helped Hamas to depend on its own local capabilities to produce such advanced technology.

In September last year, Al-Jazeera aired a documentary showing footage taken in Gaza of Hamas terrorists reassembling Iranian rockets with ranges of up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) and warheads packed with 175 kilograms of explosives.

Hamas and PIJ also used the Iranian-made Sejjil and Badr-3 missiles during the eleven-day war against Israel.

The same counts for the Kornet anti-tank missile that Hamas used at least two times during the war resulting in the death of IDF Sgt. Omer Tabib. These missiles were smuggled into Gaza after Iran shipped them to Sudan and from there they found their way to Gaza via the Sinai Peninsula.

The second time Hamas used the Kornet, was on the last day of the war when it shot the missile at an IDF bus. The missile destroyed the rear of the bus but nobody was hurt except for one soldier who was hit by shrapnel but wasn't seriously wounded.

The driver of the bus later said that a miracle had happened as he had let off about thirty IDF soldiers near the Gaza border a couple of minutes before the Kornet hit his vehicle.

The so-called ‘Metro,’ the underground tunnel complex that Hamas and PIJ built across the territory of Gaza, wouldn’t have materialized without the help of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Hamas’ and PIJ terrorists and engineers received training from Hezbollah and the Quds Force in both Lebanon and Syria and then returned to Gaza to use their new-found knowledge to advance the tunnel project and the production of better missiles which had to have a longer range.

The Iranians also assisted the Gazan terrorist organizations in developing attack drones. During the latest conflict with Israel, the so-called Kamikaze drones were used a couple of times but were downed by the IDF.

Iran has a large drone program and just revealed it has a new type of attack drone by the name of ‘Gaza’. The UAV has a range of 2,000 kilometers.

So, the bigger picture of this latest Gaza War is that Israel was not only fighting two Palestinian terror groups.

The real battle here was against Iran that has vowed to destroy the Jewish state and is trying to achieve this in different ways.

It is done by providing assistance to its proxies in Israel and by stirring up unrest among Palestinian Arabs living in Judea and Samaria as well as among Israeli Arabs. Social media was very instrumental in getting the Arabs in Israel to fight their Jewish neighbors

In addition, Iran – via Hezbollah- has been caught trying to create new terror groups in Judea and Samaria as well in northern Israel.



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