While it appears that the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza is holding, the latest eruption of violence between Israel and Gaza was just the latest illustration that this long-simmering conflict remains unresolved. It is a conflict that has deep roots in historical grievances and geopolitical fault lines, and would be challenging enough were it not for the encouragement and direct enabling of violence by a third party, one that has continued to escape accountability: Iran.
The almost surreal images of Israel’s “Iron Dome” anti-rocket system engaging Hamas-fired projectiles masks the fact that Tehran is supplying Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups with technology, assistance, and materials, enabling these very groups to amass some 30,000 rockets and mortars. To be sure, these militant groups are assembling and manufacturing their own projectiles using everything from plumbing supplies to dud Israeli munitions, but the more advanced and more capable rockets are being supplied from Iran.
In May 2019, Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in Gaza acknowledged just how important Tehran has been to the militant group’s efforts, saying “If it wasn’t for Iran’s support, we would not have had these capabilities.” In a September 2020 video on Al Jazeera, members of Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the militant wing of Hamas, were seen collecting Iranian Fajr missiles, Kornet anti-tank rockets, and other munitions.
This should not come as a surprise, but must be acknowledged as a not insignificant obstacle to resolving the open conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Ayatollah Khamenei himself said, “Zionists understand nothing but the language of force, so the Palestinians must increase their power and resistance to force the criminals to surrender and stop their brutal acts.” A constructive partner for peace, Iran is most certainly not.
Iran’s involvement in the current crisis is barely concealed. Esmail Ghaani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, and successor to Qasem Soleimani — killed by the United States at the beginning of 2020 — is in close contact with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Iranian press reports that Hamas, likely with the assistance of Tehran, has increased the speed of rockets, as well as the volume and accuracy of the projectiles, in an attempt to thwart the Iron Dome system.
Read the complete article at: The Hill